Proposals to build a forest along the upper reaches of Xijiang
River to help store rainwater and curb the problem of worsening
salt tides in the Pearl River Delta region have been put forward by
top political advisers.
The region has long been a victim of salt tides as a result of
decreasing rainfalls in recent years. The latest salt tide in the
region began in mid-February, leading to some parts of the river
containing a higher content of chlorine hydronium, the main salt
The Xijiang River, a tributary of the Pearl River running
through the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Yunnan and Guizhou
provinces in southwest China and Guangdong Province in south China,
is most severely hit by salt tides.
"A co-ordinated ecological management should be built by both
regions, and Guangdong, located in the lower reaches of Xijiang
River, should provide special financing for building of the
forest," said Chen Kaizhi, a member of the National Committee of
the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
He made the proposal with other members from Guizhou, Guangxi
and Yunnan to the ongoing fourth session of the 10th CPPCC.
The ever-worsening ecological system along the upper reaches of
the Xijiang River has resulted in insufficient water flowing into
the river's lower reaches during the salt tide period, Chen
Areas along the river's upper reaches were found to have less
coverage of forest, which has worsened soil erosion, according to
an investigation conducted by Chen last year.
"Rainwater cannot not be effectively stored as a result of the
worsening ecological system, thus it is urgent to build a forest
that will help store rainwater," Chen said.
Prior to the latest salt tide, the water authority in Guangdong
had started water diversion projects from the upper reaches of the
Xijiang River to dilute salinity brought about by mid-January's
"Water diversion is only a short-term measure to curb salt
tides, as it will be forced to stop if there is not sufficient
water in the river's upper reaches," Chen said.
Chen called for joint efforts by the regions along the Pearl
River estuary to build a forest that will help catch and store
rainwater. Chen suggested a special financing support system be set
up by Guangdong Province to help Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou for
"Building a forest with financial support from Guangdong will
improve the ecological environment along the river's upper reaches
and it should become an effective way in the long term to fight
against salt tides," Chen said.
Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou have made efforts for forest
projects in the estuary over the last few years, but the coverage
of new forest is far from enough to improve the ecological
"The limited coverage of forest in the upper reaches of the
river results from financial shortages, thus Guangdong should give
financial support, as it will also benefit," Chen said.
(China Daily March 10, 2006)