China to expand its water transfer project
One additional reservoir to facilitate development of Xiong'an New Area
China will expand a massive project that diverts water from the Yangtze River Basin to the drought-prone north this year, making the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei province one of the new beneficiaries.
Almost 9.5 billion cubic meters of water was diverted through the South-North Water Diversion Project last year, taking the total amount diverted to more than 40 billion cubic meters, Jiang Xuguang, chairman of South-North Water Diversion Group, told the company's annual work conference on Friday.
He said the State-owned enterprise, which was established in October with registered capital of 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) to help bolster management of the project, is "promoting the construction of Xiong'an and Guanyinsi storage reservoirs".
Though named after the new area, the Xiong'an storage reservoir is located in the Xushui district of Baoding, Hebei.
During a tour of the construction site in late January, Zhang Guohua, head of the new area's management committee, referred to the reservoir project as Xiong'an's "water source" and "energy station".
China announced plans to establish Xiong'an on April 1, 2017, to relieve Beijing of functions nonessential to its role as China's capital.
"It boasts great significance for guaranteeing the construction of the new area," Zhang said in a news release issued by the committee.
The Guanyinsi reservoir is located in Xinzheng, a county-level city in Zhengzhou, Henan's provincial capital.
The South-North Water Diversion Project was designed with eastern, middle and western routes. As the most attention-grabbing of the three due to its role in bringing water to the capital, the middle route started supplying water on Dec 12, 2014. The first phase of the eastern route, which serves Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, started operation in November 2013.
The western route is in the planning stage and has yet to be built.
Jiang said the company is also forging ahead with preconstruction processes for the second phase of the eastern route, which will send water further north to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province cluster, and a project designed to divert water to Danjiangkou reservoir, the water source of the middle route.
Feasibility reports on the two new projects have been handed to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, for examination and approval, he said.
Ye Jianchun, vice-minister of water resources, told Friday's work conference the water diversion project has made great contributions to guaranteeing drinking water safety in arid areas, helped address excessive exploitation of underground water in North China, and improved ecosystems and promoted development in areas around its routes.
He called on the SOE to roll out wide-ranging reforms and innovations to transform itself into a world-class conglomerate.