Major National Projects
The "project to send electricity from the west to the east," the "project to transmit natural gas from the west to the east," and the "project to divert water from the south to the north" are three major strategic projects of the Chinese government to change the overall arrangement of economic development and realize reasonable allocation of national resources. By making use of hydropower and coal resources in west China, and constructing electricity-transmission passageways, the "project to send electricity from the west to the east" is in full swing, involving a total investment of 116 billion yuan. More than half of the "project to transmit natural gas from the west to the east" was completed by the end of 2003. With a total investment of 300 billion yuan, this project - which starts from the west and goes to the cities in north and east China - includes a 4,200-km pipeline running through nine provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The construction of the "project to divert water from the south to the north" formally started on December 27, 2002. The goal is to complete the first phase of the project, involving a total investment of 156 billion yuan, by 2010 to solve the serious deficiency of water resources in north China and to realize a reasonable allocation of the water resources of the Yangtze, Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe river valleys.
Another major national project, the Three Gorges Dam Project, began storing water in 2003 in the Three Gorges Reservoir; permanent locks on the Three Gorges Project were opened to navigation; and the project's first set of generators began producing power. Launched in 1993 and expected to be completed in 2009, the project when completed will have 26 sets of generators, each set with a generating capacity of 700,000 kw that can satisfy the electrical power needs of a city with a population of a million.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, with the highest elevation in the world totaling 1,142 km, is a major national project expected to be completed in 2006. The trunk line track has been laid over 347 km. In 2003 work began on the 420 km area between the Kunlun Mountains and the Thanglha Mountain in permanent frozen soil. Workers have proceeded to the highest section in the most adverse terrain in the mountain, some 5,000 meters above sea level, to the top of Thanglha Mountain.