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China to Invest 40 Bln Yuan in Containing Huaihe River

Chinese water experts have warned it is too early to tell whether China could "completely contain" its flood-prone Huaihe River or not though major flood-containing projects along the river are expected to finish by 2007.


People living along the Huaihe River areas should not lower their vigilance and guard after 2007 when 19 water projects will be completed, said experts at the fourth academic seminar on Huaihe River studies held recently.


China will invest about 40 billion yuan (US$4.8 billion) in the coming years in those projects to put the Huaihe River under control by 2007, three years earlier than the original plan.


"Taming the Huaihe River is like performing traditional taijiquan (shadow boxing). We need to advance step by step," said Yuan Guolin, a water expert and former director of the Huaihe River Water Resources Committee.


Yuan said China should revise its plans of flood-containing along the Huaihe River simultaneously according to the changing flood situation.


One of China's most restless and unruly rivers, the 1,000-km Huaihe River is notorious for its frequent floods with 300 disastrous floods recorded over the past five centuries. The areas in the river valley now produces 18 percent of the country's food grain and 15 percent of coal.


The heavy floods along the Huaihe River in 2003 alone claimed at least 16 lives and caused 18.17 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion) of direct economic losses in Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan provinces, affecting the lives and likelihood of about 37.3 million people.


The Huaihe River flows through four central and eastern Chinese provinces, namely Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu, and is located exactly between the country's other two major rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers.


Prof. Cao Chusheng with Tianjin University said it would be more difficult to completely contain the Huaihe River in the future with the population increase and economic development.


Cao said efforts to bring the Huaihe River under control should include flood prevention, drought relief and pollution reduction.


Experts also proposed to build a new canal connecting the Huaihe River with the Yangtze River to better control the floods in Huaihe.


(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2004)

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