A senior Chinese official has sharply criticized a multi- billion-dollar government plan to divert water from the Hubei and Shaanxi provinces north to Beijing, the BBC reports.
An Qiyuan, a former Community Party leader from Shaanxi province, said that the plan would endanger the livelihood of millions of residents, and that compensation is necessary to prevent what the BBC described as “social upheaval and environmental harm.”
The plan — which will cost at least $60 billion, more than the Three Gorges Dam — will build a network of canals and dams to deliver water from southern rivers to the thirsty north, where the Beijing Olympics alone are expected to increase water needs by 30 percent.
Drought is already affecting more than 12,000 square miles in Hubei Province, and a quarter-million people are “facing problems with drinking water,” according to the BBC.
“Olympics ‘threat to water supply'”
BBC News, February 27, 2008
Previously on Newsdesk.org:
“Trouble at the Roof of the World”
Newsdesk.org, December 26, 2007
“Cracks at the Seams? China Bolsters Three Gorges”
Newsdesk.org, November 28, 2007
“Officials Praise Cabbie’s Plan for China’s Water”
Newsdesk.org, August 1, 2007
Eventually the water will come from further south where it is plentiful once the canals are extended.