JINAN: East China's Shandong Province is making preparations for the start of construction on the east route of China's south-to-north water project.
Sources from the Ministry of Water Resources said general layouts of the transfer project have been set up. Water from southern China, mainly from the Yangtze River, will be delivered to the north by the east, middle and west routes.
The transfer project, which has been debated for years, will be used to solve the water strain on northern China's Beijing and Tianjin, Shandong and Hebei provinces.
The east route for Shandong is the first route to start construction, according to Zhang Jirao, deputy minister of the Department of Water Resources.
For the east route, water will be transferred from Jiangdu in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River to Dongping Lake in the province by Grand Canal (Beijing-Hangzhou). Then water will continue by two routes, north to east of Huabei Plain and east to Jiaodong Peninsula. The east route will span 1,164.2 kilometres, with the Jiaodong canal covering 681.4 kilometres.
Shandong is short of water resources. Residents mainly rely on surface water, ground water and water from the Yellow Sea, said Liangqing, an official with the province's water resources office.
In recent years, the Yellow Sea has decreased quickly, and precipitation has been uneven. The water appropriation per capita is less than one-sixth of the country's average.
The water shortage has caused a great loss to the province's biological environment and economic development.
After the completion of the east route, a T-shaped water transfer system will result.
The transferred water will supply a total of 55.7 million people in 14 cities spanning a range of 96,916 square kilometres.
It is estimated that crop output of the province will greatly increase and the project will add more than 6 billion yuan (US$726 million) agricultural and industrial profits for the province.