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Water diversion project delivers 5 billion cubic meters to Beijing

China.org.cnUpdated: September 10, 2019

As of Sept. 5, around 5 billion cubic meters of water has been transferred from the Danjiangkou Reservoir in Hubei province to Beijing through the South-to-North Water Diversion Project since the end of 2014. The amount is equivalent to 2,500 times that is stored in Kunming Lake. The water has helped to alleviate shortage in the city, while also improving the quality of drinking water and restoring the groundwater level.

Before the South-to-North Water Diversion Project reached Beijing in 2014, the water per capita in the city was only 100 cubic meters, far below the internationally recognized warning line of 500 cubic meters per capita. At that time, the city strived to support an average annual water demand of about 3.6 billion cubic meters, with an average annual water resource of about 2.1 billion cubic meters. The water storage capacity of the Miyun Reservoir dropped to less than 1 billion cubic meters in 2015, and the groundwater level in Beijing continued to decline. The water shortage had become a bottleneck restricting the sustainable development of the city.

After the launch of the first phase of the central route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project in December 2014, a new source of water came through, and has since largely increased the total amount of water resources. Meanwhile, Beijing's per capita water resources also increased to about 150 cubic meters.

Of the nearly 5 billion cubic meters of water entering Beijing, more than 3.3 billion cubic meters—about 70%—is used for water supply in the waterworks. The rest is stored in large and medium-sized reservoirs and used to replenish underground water sources along with urban rivers and lakes in Miyun, Huairou, and Shunyi districts.

The water diversion project has also enabled water conservation and restoration in Beijing. It relieved the burdens on Miyun Reservoir to supply water, and the amount of water drawn from the reservoir dropped by more than 600 million cubic meters every year. At present, the amount of water stored in Miyun Reservoir has reached 2.67 billion cubic meters.

Moreover, the continuous decline of groundwater level has been curbed. In the past three years, the groundwater depth in Beijing's plain area has risen by 2.72 meters, and the reserves of groundwater resources have been increased by 1.39 billion cubic meters.