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Artificial Rain Widens Upper Reaches of Yellow River
Qinghai Province, the original source of the Yangtze, Lancang and Yellow rivers, has succeeded in using artificial rain to widen the upper reaches of the Yellow River.

The 6.1 billion cubic meters of artificial rain added in the past five years has made the slim river wider than before.

The Yellow River, the second longest in China, originates in northwest China's Qinghai Province and passes through nine provinces and autonomous regions, with a total length of 5,464 kilometers. The upper reaches of the river refers to the 1,500-km section between the river source and Longyang Gorge Power Station in Qinghai.

Since 1990, sustained drought has caused a sharp decrease of water flow on its upper reaches, drying some sections on the lower reaches, affecting the economic expansion of the river valley.

According to statistics, the river dried up for 129 days in 1996 and for 222 days in 1997. The Longyang Gorge Reservoir stored only 5.7 billion cubic meters of water in 1997, though it has a storage capacity of 24.7 billion cubic meters. The reservoir had to cut its annual power generation by half as a result of the low water level.

Qinghai, with high elevation and large pieces of marshland, is ideal for producing rainfall on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, a meteorologist said.

The provincial government of Qinghai will invest an additional 5.5 million yuan (US$662,650) in creating artificial rain this year to expand the rain-covered area from 50,000 square kilometers to 150,000 square kilometers.

(eastday.com September 24, 2002)

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