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Thursday, March 02, 2000, updated at 09:39(GMT+8)


Long-Term Plan to Harness Yellow River

The Chinese government is drafting a long-term plan for controlling floods, cut-offs, pollution and the build-up of sediment on the Yellow River, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.

Harnessing the river will ensure the sustainable development of the areas along the 5,464-km-long river, the second largest in China, says a ministry report..

A total of 174.1 billion yuan (20.9 billion U.S. dollars) is needed to control the river, and 64 percent will come from the government.

The Yellow River supplies 12 percent of water for the country's population and 15 percent for farmlands. The control of the river mainly involves two steps, tackling eco-environmental problems and flood control.

Chen Xiaoguo, deputy director of the Yellow River Conservancy Commission under the ministry, suggested that the central government raise the prices of the river's water that is used for agricultural and industrial purposes.

Accordingly, a new regulatory agency will be needed to oversee the ever-growing demand for the river's water, which can be used to push development in northwestern China, a national priority, according to Chen.

The ministry report also states that the government must limit water-consuming industrial projects and construction of diversion works along the river.

By 2010, all of the levees downstream of the Yellow River need to be reinforced to meet state flood-control standards for the river's changing watercourse.

The Yellow River has substandard dikes along a 440-km stretch of the lower reaches with another 471-km-long section with dikes that leak, says the ministry report.

The cut-off of the river can be solved by adopting water-efficiency irrigation and reusing 75 percent of the industrial water supply, it states.

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