Authorities in northwest China's Gansu Province
have introduced a new
regulation to better manage water resources in the Shiyang River
Basin to help curb the ecological deterioration of the Minqin oasis
and protect a section of the Great Wall.
Ma Faming, deputy director of the provincial People's Congress
Law Committee, told China Daily the Management Regulation
(draft) on the Water Resources of the Shiyang River Basin, Gansu
Province made clear provisions for the management and use of
"It is the first time Gansu has issued such a legislation for
the management of a single river basin," Ma said.
According to the regulation, which was approved by the local
legislative body on Friday, the use of water from the Shiyang River
and the exploitation of underground water in the region must go
through the local governments' strict approval process. Water
consumption will also be restricted.
"The reclamation of wasteland in the river basin is also banned
to ease pressure on water resources and protect vegetation. In
addition, factories in the basin are required to undertake remedial
measures if they are major consumers of water or create pollution,"
the regulation says.
The demand for water from the Shiyang River, one of the three
major inland waterways in the province, has been growing since the
1980s, Kang Guoxi, deputy director of Gansu provincial water
resources administration bureau, said.
The excessive use of water resources has damaged the ecological
environment, especially in the lower reaches of the basin and in
Minqin county, which has witnessed rapid deterioration, he
"The Minqin oasis, which was once fully watered by the river,
has been turning to desert and its area has dwindled drastically,"
the official said.
Figures show the amount of water flowing into the Minqin oasis
has fallen by some 500 million cu m over the past 50 years. The
level of underground water in the region has dropped by 14 m in the
Li Bingcheng, an expert on the Great Wall, which was built in
the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD24) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),
said the ancient monument was under serious threat from
Some 220 km of the wall in Minqin county are surrounded by sand
and some sections have been completely buried, Li said.
He said although parts of the Great Wall had been buried, they
could be clearly seen on aerial photographs taken recently.
"If we do not take effective measures to protect these ancient
remains of great buildings in Minqin county, there will be nothing
left in another 10 to 20 years," Li said.
(China Daily August 7, 2007)