The Pearl River Water Resources Committee is considering diverting water from other parts of the country to help fight the severe drought and salt tide currently plaguing the Pearl River Delta in south China.
Wang Qiusheng, deputy director of the committee, said that an emergency plan regarding water diversion had been completed and was waiting for approval from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
According to the plan, if salt tide occurs extensively, water will be discharged from reservoirs, such as Tianshengqiao Reservoir in southwest China's Guizhou Province, Yantan Reservoir in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Feilaixia Reservoir on the upper reaches of Beijiang River, a tributary of Pearl River, to dilute the salt tide in the Pearl River.
Drought in the Pearl River valley, mostly in Guangdong Province, has been worsening since autumn, and as a result, this year's salt tide began 15 days earlier than last year, said Wang.
"The worst dry season in half a century appears on Xijiang, Beijiang and Dongjiang rivers, three tributaries of the Pearl River. I'm afraid the worst salt tide in the Pearl River valley since 1963 might occur too," he said.
Wang warned if the current drought spell in the Pearl River valley continued, the salt tide in the Pearl River estuary would go further upstream, which will in turn affect water supply to more than 15 million people in the economically developed Pearl River Delta, and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
He believed that diverting water from other places was a necessary step to reduce the negative impact of the salt tide when there were not enough water resources in the province.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2004)