10,000 dams proposed to be built to curb Yellow River sedimentation

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, March 13, 2010
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A Chinese lawmaker has proposed to build more than 10,000 dams on the Loess Plateau to curb the flow of sand into the Yellow River that causes sedimentation on its lower reaches.

The dams will be built in an area covering 18,800 square kilometers in Yulin, Shaanxi Province, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Li Guoying, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, said on the sidelines of the NPC annual session.

Sedimentation in the Yellow River is mainly caused by medium and coarse sand, of which at least 10 percent is from the area, according to Li, who is also director of the Yellow River Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources.

Li said the area produces 408 million tonnes of sand per year, or about 22 percent of sand flowing into the river.

Li had submitted his proposal to the secretariat of the 11th NPC annual session, calling for authorization from the top legislature to start the sand-blocking project as soon as possible.

Dubbed the "cradle of Chinese civilization," the Yellow River is a major water source for 160 million people, or 12 percent of the population, and irrigates 17 percent of the country's arable land in drought-prone central and western China.

Centuries of sedimentation has caused the riverbed to rise above the surrounding farmland -- by an average of 10 centimeters a year since 1949 -- so that it is often referred to as the "hanging river."

Sediment makes the river extremely prone to flooding, and forces it to change course, posing threat to residents along the river.

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