OK, so it’s not exactly a Grand Canal. More like a Grand Pipeline. But still, the significance of a major new project to improve the region’s water supply cannot be emphasized enough. With a total length of 113 km and investment of RMB35.4 billion (US$5.2 billion), a new water-diversion project is under way to link the western and eastern sides of the Greater Bay Area.
The project is designed to deliver an average of over 1.7 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Foshan city section of the Xijiang (West River) to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan, officials with the Ministry of Water Resources said.
One of the country’s 172 major water conservation and supply projects, it’s also the longest water diversion line with the largest investment value in the province.
The project presents a great engineering challenge as pipes will be laid 40 to 60 meters under the ground throughout, including 2.4 kilometers under the estuary of the Pearl River. Upon its completion in about 60 months, the project will solve the water shortage problem of the three cities and provide a backup water source for Hong Kong.
Up to now, the Dongjiang (East River) has been the major water source for 40 million residents in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Heyuan, Huizhou, Dongguan and Hong Kong on the east side of the Pearl River estuary. It contributes 18% of the water resources in Guangdong and supports 28% of the population and 48% of the GDP in the province.
However, the Dongjiang has seen its utilization rate reach 38.3%, close to the international alarm standard of 40%. In contrast, the water capacity of the Xijiang is 10 times that of the Dongjiang, while its utilization rate is only 1.2%.
Read more (in Chinese).