‘Parched’ enough to pump water over a distance of 1,000km
Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, Russia, is the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Photo credit: Kirill Shipitsin/TASS
Urban planners in the capital of Gansu, Lanzhou, located in the Northwest of China, have laid out plans to pipe water into the region incapacitated by drought, statements in the Chinese media say. Water will be drawn from the deepest freshwater lake on earth, Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, Russia, and the pipe, beginning at the South-western edge of the 600km-long lake, will run an estimated 1,000km through Mongolia and Hexi to Lanzhou.
This programme would certainly improve Gansu’s economy as well as lend its ‘ecological environment’ a helping hand – both have been acutely handicapped by the shortage of water. As it is, the region only experienced a scarce 380mm of rain the year before.
But this radical plan, however, has only served to highlight the asperity of the water crisis that is challenging Beijing.
China may be home to a fifth, or 20 per cent, of the global population, but only 7 per cent of its freshwater is in the north, and the Northern provinces are dealing with a catastrophic dearth brought about by pollution, overuse, wastage, and rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.