URUMQI — Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has been restoring the ecosystem along the Tarim River, China’s longest inland river, partly through flooding lower reaches which dried up 30 years ago.
In the past 18 years, Xinjiang has infused nearly 6.2 billion cubic meters of water, from lakes and tributaries into the dry trunk stream of lower reaches of the Tarim River, according to the river administration.
Tarim River runs 1,321 kilometers along the rim of the barren Tarim Basin, a sparsely populated area about the size of Poland.
However, excessive irrigation used too much water, which caused the river’s lower reaches to run dry in the early 1970s and push the trees to the verge of disappearance.
The government launched a 10.7 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) restoration project in 2000, including taking from surrounding lakes, waterway harnessing, construction of more water storage facilities and underground water development.
The local government also limited industrial and agricultural use of water in cities and counties along the river and returned farm land to grassland.
Data released by Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that around 2,285 square kilometers of vegetation has been restored, and 854 square kilometers of land was no longer desert.