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'Emergency' water to arrive in Beijing
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"Emergency" water will arrive in Beijing via China's massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project on Sunday, which is expected to ease the capital's water shortage.

The water, diverted from neighboring Hebei Province 10 days ago, will flow into the Tuancheng Lake in the renowned Summer Palace in the city's northwest, said He Fengci, deputy director of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project Beijing Office.

Up to 300 million cubic meters of water will be redirected from three large reservoirs in Hebei between Sept. 18 and March 10 next year, He said.

"Beijing can actually receive 225 million cubic meters of water by the end of March next year, if the water loss on the journey is deducted," she said.

Some 1.3 million tons of water will arrive in Beijing everyday during the period via a newly-dug 307-km canal, which forms part of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

Beijing has had water shortages partly because of its geography, with nine years of consecutive drought starting in 1999. It has received only 75 percent of its expected precipitation over that period.

The shortage in Beijing is set to reach crisis point in 2010, when the population is expected to top 17 million, or 3 million more than its resources can support.

The South-to-North Water Diversion Project, consisting of eastern, middle and western routes, is designed to divert water from the water-rich south of the country, mainly the Yangtze River, the country's longest, to the dry north.

The eastern and middle routes are already under construction. The western route, meant to replenish the Yellow River with water diverted from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River by digging tunnels in the high mountains of western China, is still at the blueprint stage.

According to the South-to-North water diversion office, when part of the project is completed in 2010, about 1 billion cubic meters of water will be diverted to Beijing annually.

(Xinhua News Agency september 28, 2008)

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