China maps out blueprint to harness Yellow River

Updated: 2013-03-31 11:32


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The government, experts and other relevant organizations have taken action since 1999 to prolong the life of the river.

"The key to bringing the river under control is to control its water and sand," said Chen.

The development, protection and management of the Yellow River will have strategic significance for the promotion of China's sustainable development and environmental protection efforts, Chen added.

Because of excessive exploitation and a rapidly growing population in the past, the river has been plagued by droughts, water and soil erosion disasters in its middle and upper reaches, as well as sediment, floods and a rising riverbed caused by heavy silt in its lower reaches.

So far, four water reservoirs have been built on the main stream of the river.

Located on the upper reaches of the river, the Longyangxia and Liujiaxia reservoirs have helped to improve water management and electricity production, as well as reduce the number of ice-related natural disasters, on a section of river stretching between the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions.

However, a shrinking riverbed and increasing silt in recent years have exerted a negative impact on flood relief efforts.

The establishment of the Heishanxia Reservoir will help the two overburdened reservoirs regulate water and silt in the upstream section of river.

The Guxian and Qikou reservoirs will extend the life of the previously built Xiaolangdi Reservoir and work with it to control sand and provide water for industries, cities, towns and agriculture in the middle section, as well as ensure safety in the downstream river section.

All three reservoirs will help to relieve the burden on the Sanmenxia Reservoir, the first to be built in the river's downstream area. The reservoir has played an important role in protecting the lives and property of people in the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu.

Another two reservoirs, the Haibowan and Hekoucun reservoirs, are under construction. The Dongzhong reservoir, which is still being planned, will help form a water and sand control system for the river.

The reservoirs are expected to reduce the amount of silt washed into the river by half to 80 million tons by 2030, as well as prevent water levels from rising.

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