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China Launches Water Diversion Program to Fight Salt Tide

An emergency water diversion scheme designed to combat the salt tide that has been threatening fresh water supply in the Pearl River Delta in south China started operation on Monday morning.


"The Tianshengqiao Reservoir in southwestern Guizhou Province on the Xijiang River, a tributary of the Pearl River, began to discharge water downstream at 8 AM Monday morning at a speed not lower than 560 cu. m per second, unveiling the largest water diversion program in the river valley, which runs more than 1,300 km from southwest to south China," said Wang Qiusheng, deputy director of the Pearl River Water Resources Committee.


In accordance with the emergency program, the Yantan Reservoir in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also on the Xijiang River, will discharge water at a speed of 1,930 cu. m. per second from Jan. 24 through to Jan. 31, while the Feilaixia Reservoir on the upper reaches of the Beijiang River, another tributary of the Pearl River, will discharge water at a speed not lower than 250 cu.m. per second from Jan. 28 through to Feb. 3, Wang said.


"In this way, a new flood peak can be formed with a speed of 2,500 cu. m. per second on the main stream of the Pearl River so as to delay salt tide from going upstream and to rein in the salt tide from expanding further extensively between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4," said Wang.


With the emergency program in place, cities in the Pearl River Delta such as Macao, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Guangzhou will have time to draw and store up as much fresh water as they can, he said.


Drought in the Pearl River valley, mostly in Guangdong Province on south China's coast, has been worsening since last autumn. As a result, sea water began to flow backwards into the Pearl River and many cities along the river is running short of fresh water.


It is feared that the worst salt tide in the past two decades will occur in the Pearl River valley in the spring of 2005, which will endanger water supply to more than 15 million people in the economically developed Pearl River Delta, and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2005)

Massive Water Diversion to Start Monday
Water Diversion Planned to Combat Salt Tide
Water Diversion Planned to Beat S. China Drought
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