More than a billion people need a drink. I can’t begin to imagine the schemes that
India will have . . . let alone Los Angeles.
Reporting ~ Owen Latimore Wells
Urban planners in Lanzhou have drawn up proposals to pipe water into the chronically dry region from Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
Lake Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake on earth. Photograph: Kirill Shipitsin/TASS
China is reportedly considering plans to build a 1,000km (620 mile) pipeline to pump water all the way from Siberia to its drought-stricken northwest.
According to reports in the Chinese media, urban planners in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, have drawn up proposals to pipe water into the chronically parched region from Russia’s Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake on earth.
Li Luoli, an academic who is one of the plan’s cheerleaders, claimed the mega-project – roughly the equivalent of pumping water from Lake Como to London – was both theoretically feasible and “certainly beneficial” to China.
“Once the technical issues are resolved, diplomats should sit down and talk to each other about how each party would benefit from such international cooperation,” said Li, the vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform, a state-run think tank.
In a report this week the state-run Global Times said the pipeline would quench the “desperate thirst” of a province that saw just 380mm of rain last year.
It would begin at the southwestern tip of the 600km-long Russian lake and run about 1,000km, across Mongolia, to Gansu’s capital through the Hexi corridor, a desert region near the westernmost tip of the Great Wall of China.
The project would boost both Gansu’s “ecological environment” and its economy which the newspaper said had been severely hampered by the lack of water.
The drastic plan underscores the severity of the water crisis facing Beijing.
China has 20% of the world’s population but just 7% of its fresh water with the north, in particular, facing a calamitous shortage thanks to urbanisation, over-use, wastage and pollution.