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Rich Fresh Water Reserves on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China, which is known as "roof of the world," holds quite possibly the country's biggest amount of fresh water, according to a recent finding by Chinese scientists.

In the past it was the Jiangnan region, which refers to an area to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, that was known as the country's area with richest lakes and rivers.

On the plateau, the scientists said, 1,091 lakes are bigger than one square kilometer and their total area is 44,993.3 square kilometers, covering 49.5 percent of the country's total lake areas, as a result of a decades-long study of the geography of the plateau.

Water reserves in the lakes on the plateau are about 608 billion cubic meters, holding 70 percent of the country's total lake water reserves, it said.

"The lake group is also known the world's highest and largest one," said Zhu Liping, a researcher with the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Ten of China's 27 biggest lakes, each covering an area of more than 500 square kilometers, dot the plateau.

"Most lakes are as high as 4,000 to 5,000 meters and they are generally deep and with steep banks," said Zhu, claiming the formation is in line with that of the plateau.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2005)

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Massive River Reserve Planned
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