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Drinking Water Being Trucked into Towns Gone Dry in North China, and Central California—but China Has Solutions in the Works!

Sept. 23, 2014 (EIRNS)—On both sides of the Pacific Ocean, certain areas are so now severely dry, some communities are out of water completely, in parts of Northern China and in California. In both places, many households are relying on drinking water being trucked in as a contingency.

The big difference is, that China has a commitment to solutions. In the United States, this is forbidden under the Wall Street/Obama outlook. What is required of Americans, is to oust Obama, break the doomsday grip on how to think about resources, and get busy collaborating with China on emergency and long-term actions on water. A few updates:

Water Hauling. In northern China, for example, villagers in Kanzhuang and other localities are getting drinking water trucked in twice a day. Crops have withered. This is a crisis foreseen, given the scant and highly variable precipitation patterns here, and the impact of persistent drought. But the hardship will be temporary, because soon, in 2015, water will arrive from the south, through the now-completed Middle Route Project (MRP) of the South North Diversion Project, described below.

In California, in Tulare County in Central California, for example, 1,000 people of this farm county’s total population of 7,300, are affected by 400 wells running dry. In East Porterville, 300 homes have no water. On Sept. 19, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state agencies to provide water to these people. Individuals are hauling water, making trips to shower, and otherwise scrounging. Through state grants, bottled water is trucked in for distribution. There is no water "on the way" from nuclear desalination, or the North American Water and Power Alliance, obstructed since the 1960s.

South-to-North Water Diversion Project (SNWD). This month in China, water quality testing began on the Middle Route (MRP) of the three-route SNWD, preparatory to opening the flow of the newly-completed 1,400-km conveyance MRP system, to bring water from the monsoonal Yangtsze Valley to the dry north. By 2015, the water will be coursing northward.

China’s grand inter-basin SNWD project now stands as the near solitary, but exemplary, world model of modern, large-scale surface water organization. First proposed in the 1950s, designs were debated for decades; then in late 2002, construction began, and since 2009 has been accelerated.

The first, Eastern Route project (ERP) became operational in December, 2013, delivering water to the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Shandong. By 2015, water in the Middle Route (MRP) will flow to Beijing, Tianjin, and environs. The Western Route, which would capture and divert water from three tributaries of the upper Yangtsze River, is still in the planning stages.

The SNWD dimensions are significant. The Eastern Route uses upgrades on the 1,500-year-old Grand Canal, a waterway likewise linking the south to the north. Today, the ERP transports some 14.8 billion cubic meters of water a year. The Middle Route will carry up to 13.0 billion cubic meters, when fully operational. This channel required 1,400 km of new construction, with its starting point at the Danjiangkou Reservoir, in Hubei Province.

See a 10-part special TV series on this project, and the current north China drought, titled, "Quenching a Mighty Thirst," on CCTV, running Sept. 15 to 24. http://english.cntv.cn/special/quenchingamightythirst/