Given that we have made an absolute hash out of preserving our Southwestern aquifers, and the Colorado River does not even reach the ocean anymore, we here in the United States of America are not in a strong position to go finger pointing on water issues.
But there are times that it seems like it would be nice if you had someone who would just take charge and ram decisions through – stop all the bickering……………….
or maybe not.
Edward Wong, New York Times, 2 June 2011 via the Herald-Tribune
DANJIANGKOU, China —
North China is dying.
A chronic drought is ravaging farmland. The Gobi Desert is inching south. The Yellow River, the so-called birthplace of Chinese civilization, is so polluted it can no longer supply drinking water. The rapid growth of megacities — 22 million people in Beijing and 12 million in Tianjin alone — has drained underground aquifers that took millenniums to fill.
Not atypically, the Chinese government has a grand and expensive solution: Divert at least six trillion gallons of water each year hundreds of miles from the other great Chinese river, the Yangtze, to slake the thirst of the north China plain and its 440 million people.
The engineering feat, called the South-North Water Diversion Project, is China’s most ambitious attempt to subjugate nature. It would be like channeling water from the Mississippi River to meet the drinking needs of Boston, New York and Washington. Its $62 billion price tag is twice that of the Three Gorges Dam, which is the world’s largest hydroelectric project. And not unlike that project, which Chinese officials last month admitted had “urgent problems,” the water diversion scheme is increasingly mired in concerns about its cost, its environmental impact and the sacrifices poor people in the provinces are told to make for those in richer cities.
This project has not one, but three channels from the distant Yangtze to bring water north. They are moving 350,000 people out of the way to make room, and the area they are taking the water from has been suffering it own drought.