South-North Water Transfer Project
• South-North Water Transfer Project
China is suffering from thirst. A critical shortage of water resources in the arid north-eastern parts of the country began to slow down their economic development, forcing the government to begin the implementation of the largest engineering project in the modern history of mankind. Until 2050 part of the Yangtze River runoff by a waterworks system will be transferred to the north of China. Canals and aqueducts in the thousands of kilometers long, tens of billions of dollars and a cubic meter of water ...
We offer a look at how the Chinese, with varying success realize the old dream of the Soviet Communists, turning the tide of the river.
In China, home to about 20% of the world's population, while the supply of fresh water make up just 7% of the world. Everything else they are distributed unevenly over the vast country. If residents of the southern regions of China with affluent Yangtze River water is more or less ensured, the population of the North China Plain, between the rivers Huai and Yellow River, and it is up to a third of the obschekitayskih 1, 3 billion people regularly suffer from dry climate.
The Yellow River, the largest source of water in the north of China, in the 1990s, did constantly dry up downstream. Measures taken by the Chinese government, allowed more or less normalized gidrorezhim the Yellow River, but now its different downstream shortage of water, have a negative impact on the development of agriculture and industry of the country.
This is not a new problem for China. As early as 1952, Mao Zedong said: "In the water north a little, in the south of it abound, so, if possible, why the water is not to redistribute?" As is the case with other major Chinese projects, the implementation of conceptual ideas chairman lasted for decades , surviving author. Only in 1979, a special department was established in the Ministry of the country's water resources, whose main task is the development plan for the "South-North Water Transfer Project" from south to north.
In fact, the Chinese government chose the lesser of two evils. To save the densely populated agricultural north of thirst and drought, it was necessary to run the program or mass displacement of the local population in the more prosperous in relation to climatic and hydrological southern areas, or vice versa, in some way to deliver water from the south suffer from its lack of northerners.
And he and other projects require huge financial costs and long implementation. Perhaps the final choice of a particular influenced technocrats who came to power in China in the late 1980s. Li Peng, the Chinese Premier in 1988-1998 years, was educated hydropower, hydraulic engineering department and graduated from the Chinese President in 2003-2013 years, Hu Jintao. In the 1990 decision to implement "turn the rivers" has been approved, and in 2002, after half a century after Chairman Mao for the first time this conceptual idea was voiced, large-scale works, designed for decades, finally began to take place.
Strictly speaking, there is no literal "turn the rivers" is not expected. The plan called for transfer of part of the flow South Chinese Yangtze River and its tributaries in the northern provinces of the country by a waterworks system. The average annual water flow of the Yangtze at its mouth is about 950 billion cubic meters, and even in the driest years less than 600 billion cubic meters does not fall. From this enormous volume of only about 5% (on average up to 45 billion cubic meters per year) should be in the final of the project (2050) to go to the north.
In the next 48 years (from 2002 to 2050-th) pools of four major Chinese rivers (Yangtze, Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe) will be joined by three grand channels: the Eastern, Central and Western. This will significantly increase the deepness northern Chinese rivers, to eliminate the risk of drying out and provide resources Reservoir near the largest cities in the north of the country - Beijing and Tianjin.
Work on the first stage super project began in December 2002. East Channel is largely intended use of the infrastructure of the Grand Canal Beijing - Hangzhou, a unique hydraulic structure, to build two thousand years (VI century BC -.. The XIII century BC..) And for the first time linked the Yangtze to the Yellow River.
In the decade was carried out an extension of the Grand Canal and the construction of 23 new pumping stations along its route, which together with the already existing 7 objects of this kind were to pump the water of the Yangtze to the Yellow River - the Yellow River.
Unique new hydro-technical facility here became an underground complex created at the intersection of the Grand Canal from the Yellow River. Yangtze water will force the Yellow River via underground tunnels two-diameter conduits 9, each 3 meters and 585 meters. Further gravity millions of cubic meters in the North China Plain in the end will be in the reservoir in Tianjin. Actually, it is the supply of the city, its metropolitan area, as well as densely populated Shandong Province, one of the main agricultural regions of the country - the main goal of "turning the rivers" in the east.
Work on East Canal lasted 11 years. Late last year, the complex was put into operation. Its total length was 1150 kilometers in the north of China will be shifted further to one billion cubic meters of fresh water per year.
Unlike East channel, based on the basis of already existing hydraulic infrastructure, central tube construction was a zero. Work on it began in late 2003 and had the ultimate goal of the organization of water supply in Beijing and the central Chinese province of Hubei, Henan and Hebei.
The central channel begins in the Danjiangkou Reservoir, which is located on the Han River, a major tributary of the Yangtze. The project authors calculated that from this point of water can be delivered to the North China Plain, in the vicinity of Beijing, by gravity, thus avoiding costly construction of engineering structures, such as, for example, pumping stations.
However, the central portion of "South-North Water Transfer Project" faced with two difficult problems. The first of these was the need of the Yellow River crossing, which decided to exactly the same as in the east, - construction of an underground tunnel aqueduct.
The second problem was much more extensive and require significant financial investments. In order to provide a natural gravity flow from the reservoir towards Danjiangkou Beijing required to raise the water level therein at 157 to 170 meters. These additional 13 meters, of course, greatly increased the mirror area of the reservoir and thereby forced the country's leadership to start a program of mass relocation of residents from flooded areas artificial pond. The red line on the label indicates the water level after the end of the flood.
According to various estimates, in the new place of residence during the construction of the center channel has been moved from 250 thousand to 330 thousand people -.. Figure, of course, much more modest than 1, 23 million internally displaced persons from HPP flooding zone "Three Gorges "but, nevertheless, demanded that the government billions of dollars of investment. In addition, from the area were made dozens of large and hundreds of small businesses: Eliminate potential sources of water pollution in the canals and reservoirs.
Entering into the central channel operation is scheduled for the end of this, in 2014, although some parts of it have already been successfully operated. The total length of the hydraulic complex will be 1264 kilometers. At the initial stage to Beijing will be shifted further 9, 5 billion cubic meters of fresh water, by 2030 this figure will increase to 12-13 billion in the middle (not dry) years.
This volume takes away from the Han River flow in the long term it can cause drying of the areas below the reservoir Danjiangkou. In this regard, the Chinese engineers have developed an additional channel project, which would link the Danjiangkou the same and very affluent hydroelectric dam "Three Gorges" on the Yangtze. Construction of this facility in the future will dramatically reduce the load on the Han river and avoid a potential environmental disaster in the lands along its lower reaches.
The most ambitious part of the project transferring water from southern China to the north will be the Western Channel. Recall, "turn the rivers" is designed for several decades - to complete the great work should be only in 2050. In this case, the eastern and central parts of the complex has already been largely completed. It is on the Western channel construction in the next three decades will be concentrated focus of the Chinese leadership.
The main purpose of the work in the west will be a compound of the headwaters of the Yangtze River to the Yellow River. This redistribution of water will allow re-do the Yellow River overflowing, and restore normal water supply industry and agriculture, densely populated provinces along its banks.
About one-third of all water resources in China are concentrated in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where is the source of three major tributaries of the Yangtze River in its upper course: Yalong River, T'o and Tatu. That the waters of these rivers is planned to partially redirect the Western Channel. Its estimated length is "only" 500 kilometers, but the construction of the complex will be in the most difficult mountainous terrain at altitudes of 3000-5000 meters above sea level.
In addition, the Western channel to overcome the natural watershed between the Yangtze and Yellow pools - Range Bayan Har Mountains, 750 km long mountain range up to 5500 meters high. Here, engineers and builders face the need to create an entire system of reservoirs, dams with hydroelectric power plants, as well as the enormous length of tunnels, conduits through which the Western channel right through the thickness of the Kunlun and will be released in the upper reaches of the Yellow River.
In the second phase of a promising channel is considered and its inclusion in the system of the rivers of the Mekong and the Salween, the Yangtze basin is not included, and the current from the Tibetan Plateau in the direction of South-East Asian countries. However, just taking into account the resistance of these countries the prospect of implementing the idea with the Mekong and the Salween, still looks ghostly.
The Western Channel is still at the design stage, and the specific terms of the beginning of works on its construction has not been determined. Likely to get involved in before the epic alpine hydro-technical, the Chinese leadership in the coming years will analyze the success (or lack thereof) has built the eastern and central parts of the complex. In the end, all the theoretical predictions about the effect of perspective, "turning the rivers" on the environment and climate as the country's southern regions, where the water is taken, and the northern provinces, its abundant receiving, need to be tested in practice.
For the first 11 years of the project "South-North Water Transfer Project" on it it has been spent, according to various estimates $ 28-35 billion scale construction work is striking:. During the construction of the Eastern and Central channel has been moved about 11 billion cubic meters of soil and laid 22 billion cubic meters of concrete .
The most difficult, at least in the engineering sense, a milestone still ahead. In Tibet, the western section of the complex is planned until 2050 to spend another $ 25-35 billion. In the end, the country should see the largest engineering construction of modernity, which has no analogues in the world. All previous experience in the implementation of its China superprojects suggests that now only he is capable of carrying out the work of immense proportions, with a similar level of expenditure and accompanying this risk.