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China completes world’s biggest water diversion scheme for $80 bn

China completes world’s biggest water diversion scheme for $80 bn
China has completed its ambitious $80 billion 'South-to-North Water Diversion Project' with world's longest canal and pipelines spanning 1400 km, transferring water to its arid northern regions including the capital, amid concerns over its adverse environmental impact.

The project took eight-years to be completed and involves two 4,000-meter-long tunnels under the riverbed of the Yellow River, China's second largest river.

The project will transfer water from the Yangtze river, China's largest river, to the arid northern regions.

In 2003, its project cost was estimated to be around $59 billion which spiralled to $80 billion by the end of its completion.

The project evoked interest in India as it closely resembles NDA government's 2003 River-Inter-linking project.

The then Chairman of the Task Force on the Inter-Linking of Rivers and current Minster of Railways, Suresh Prabhu during his visit to Beijing has said India will study the project to understand how the Chinese planned to go about it.

The project was conceived by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952 but got delayed over its likely impact on the environment as well as resettlement of people. The project was approved by the State Council in December 2002, after nearly half-a-century of debate.

But the new waterway presents fresh challenges as well, such as the protection of water quality from unforeseen natural risks in the future, state-run China Daily reported.

Work still needs to be done to ensure the livelihoods of the 400,000 people displaced by the project, including 345,000 people whose hometown submerged in the Danjiangkou reservoir.

It is the second biggest water project undertaken by China after the Three Gorges dam regarded as the world's biggest hydro-power dam.
PTI

PTI

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