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Story Map: What is the impact of China’s mega water diversion scheme?

Our interactive map illustrates the impact of China's controversial South-North Water Transfer project, as water finally reached Beijing last week
Water from the Yangtze finally arrived in Beijing in December as the middle route of the diversion project came online (Photo by Bo Song)
Water from the Yangtze finally arrived in Beijing in December as the middle route of the diversion project came online (Photo by Bo Song)

China’s South-North Water Transfer Project – the world’s largest engineering project –  will eventually pump 45 billion cubic metres of water each year from the Yangtze to the Yellow River to feed the cities and coal fields of northern and western China, which are running out of water. The amount of water diverted every year will be equivalent to a second Yellow River.

This Mao-era dream involves the construction of three canals, of which the eastern was finished in 2013, and the central route was officially launched on December 12, 2014.

The project, now estimated to cost 500 billion yuan (US$80 billion), remains a government priority, despite controversy over its expense, impacts on agriculture and mass relocations of communities.

Explore this story map to discover how the mega diversion scheme will affect different areas of China and the problems that have emerged since construction began in 2002. 

Click on image to begin the story map or follow this link

Comments (2)

For more on the arguments for and against building the final stage of water transfer, south-to-north, across eastern Tibet, see: http://rukor.org/water-water-everywhere/

This year, 2015, will probably see a decision by China’s leaders on whether this transTibet canal will be dug and tunnelled, at vast expense. When the three south-to-north canals were first announced, at the beginning of this century, the Tibetan canal was left until the two lowland canals were completed, as they now are.

If the third canal is to go ahead, it will be the headline feature of the 13th Five-Year Plan due to commence in 2016.

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