Water diversion project to boost Chinese grain output

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-10-28 16:37:35

China's south-to-north water diversion project, expected to start operation in the coming days, will ease the drought that has been plaguing north China, greatly improving grain output, officials and experts have said.

About 13 percent of water will be assigned for agriculture every year, which will add six billion cubic meters of water for ecological and agricultural use, a blessing for the thirsty farmland, said E Jingping, director of the South-North Water Diversion Office of the State Council, China's cabinet.

There are currently 16 million mu (1 million hectares) of dry land wheat being planted in Henan Province with an average output of 150 to 200 kg per mu, said Huang Wei, an official with the provincial agriculture department.

"With water from the water diversion project, the average output would nearly triple to 400 kg to 500 kg per mu," said Huang.

The 34 counties receiving water from the project are all major grain-producing areas, said Liu Zhengcai, deputy head of the provincial south-to-north water diversion office.

He says 3.8 billion cubic meters of water assigned to Henan will greatly improve the grain production.

"The 50 million cubic meters of water assigned to our county is enough to guarantee the urban use of water, so water for irrigation will not be occupied like before," said Han Xiaowei, deputy head of the water affairs bureau of Huaxian County, the largest grain-producing county in Henan.

Currently Henan is suffering the worst drought in 63 years with more than 27 million mu of crops thirsty of water for irrigation, said Huang.

The water diversion project will gradually restore the ecological environment in north China and improve the grain production and guarantee the country's food safety, said Wang Hao, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The middle route of transfer project will see a massive 9.5 billion cubic meters of water per year pumped through canals and pipes from the Danjiangkou reservoir in central China's Hubei Province to the northern provinces of Henan and Hebei and to Beijing.

The project was conceived by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952. The State Council approved the ambitious project in December 2002 after debate lasting nearly half a century.

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