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Ordinary Chinese People Contribute Ideas to Harness Huaihe River

The mammoth flooding that occurred on the Huaihe River this summer, the worst in the past 50 years, has not only drawn great attention from the country's decision-makers, but also sparked ordinary people's enthusiasm to contribute ideas on how to harness the river.  

A program on how to control the Huaihe River was recently released on Xinhuanet.com.cn, China's leading news website.


Yang Shuqing, the program writer, was born in central China's Hunan Province and is now a hydrological Ph.D. holder in a Singapore-based university.


He explained his personal views on how to build hydrological projects on the river, how to reduce flooding when the river receives continuous rains and how to alleviate droughts if the river basins suffer high temperatures and little rainfall.


Yang also discusses the river's water pollution problems.


The program immediately sparked heated discussion on the Internet. More than 1,000 Internet surfers left comments after reading the article.


Some praised the program, some expressed their hopes to see a tamed Huaihe River, and some gave their ideas on how to supplement the program.


An official with the Water Resources Department of east China's Anhui Province said some suggestions were very constructive.


Hu Lili, a university student whose hometown in the Jingshan flood diversion area was inundated in floodwater this summer, is preparing to write a dissertation on the topic of compensation for residents in flood diversion areas who had to give up their homes and farmland when floodwater was diverted.


The floods occurred on Huaihe River this summer caused the inundation of nine flood diversion areas in an attempt to ensure the safety of the river's main embankments. Millions of local residents had to move out of the diversion areas, losing their houses and farmlands.


Huang Jiayuan, a farmer living in Pihe River valley, a branch of the Huaihe River, told Xinhua that he thought the Pihe River should become another focus in the future, because the river basins were hardest hit by floods this summer and governments had not made plans to harness this branch.


The China Youth Daily, one of China's leading newspapers, recently published an editorial urging that ordinary Chinese people's suggestions be utilized, because some people had a wealth of understanding of the local ecological system, geological situation and hydrological knowledge.


Wang Jinshan, governor of Anhui Province, said he always listened to "civil wisdom" on how to harness the Huaihe River.


He said taming the flood-prone Huaihe River was a comprehensive project, which needed great efforts from governments, academics, and ordinary Chinese people.


(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2003)

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