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China’s “New Grand Canal” diverts water northward

Updated: Dec 12,2014 6:29 PM     Xinhua

Photo taken on Dec 12, 2014 shows the main part of the canal in Baoding section, Hebei province, which is part of the first phase of the middle route of the South-North Water Diversion Project.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — A series of canals and pipelines stretching over 1,400 kilometers began diverting water on Dec 12 from China’s longest river, the Yangtze, directly to the country’s arid northern regions, including capital city Beijing.

The completion of the water scheme marked major progress in the nation’s enormous south-to-north water diversion project, the largest of its kind in the world, at an estimated cost of 500 billion yuan (about $80 billion).

The project, which aims to alleviate water shortages in the north, is another engineering achievement by the Chinese. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the world’s longest man-made waterway, was launched in the 13th century to transport grain between the south and north.

The launch of the new waterway will see water continuously supplied through the middle route of the diversion project.

The middle route first-stage project begins at Danjiangkou reservoir in central China’s Hubei province and runs for 1,432 kilometers. It can supply 9.5 billion cubic meters of water per year on average for some 100 million people in the dry northern regions, including Beijing and Tianjin cities, as well as Henan and Hebei provinces.