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From ditch to destination: Shichuan River's remarkable transformation

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2024-06-22 17:44
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Shichuan River in Fuping county, Shaanxi province used to be a murky ditch. But the water body has been transformed into a lucid expanse and a popular destination for residents thanks to a series of measures local government carried out to treat it. [Photo provided to]

The Shichuan River in Fuping county, Shaanxi province, has undergone a stunning transformation from a murky ditch to a clear expanse, becoming a beloved destination for local residents.

Zhang Lina, a native of Fuping county, vividly recalls the days when water scarcity plagued her hometown, and her childhood longing for water-related recreational activities. "Washing hair was a luxury, and every drop of water was treasured," the 36-year-old noted. "If we rinsed our hair in a basin, the water was not discarded but used by other family members."

The once small and murky Shichuan River, which runs through Fuping's county seat, holds her nostalgic memories of longing to play in its meager waters. "Every time I passed it, I wanted to play in it, though it was only a ditch with muddy water," she recalled.

Now working in the bustling IT sector of Shanghai, where water flows freely, Zhang has envied the abundant water resources and recreational opportunities enjoyed by the metropolis' residents. However, she never expected that her return to Fuping five years ago for a holiday would reveal a remarkable transformation of the river.

Once a mere trickle, the river now brims with life, surpassing her wildest dreams. "It's a sight that surpasses my wildest dreams," she said, smiling with her three-year-old son sitting in his stroller.

The transformation of the watercourse, dubbed the "mother river" of Fuping, was the result of a treatment program local government launched from 2017 to 2019. This program followed the idea that mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands are a life community.

Besides making the river capable of withstanding once-in-two-decade floods, over 31 kilometers of the Shichuan's 36-kilometer section in Fuping was treated, according to local authorities. Pipe networks were also constructed to collect wastewater for treatment and divert rainwater and reclaimed water into the river and its tributary, the Wenquan River. Every day, about 7,000 cubic meters of reclaimed water are diverted into the Wenquan.

In the urban area of Fuping, a 5.2-kilometer stretch of the Shichuan River has been transformed through an afforestation initiative, resulting in the lush greening of 700,000 square meters of riverside terrain, now a wetland park.

Zhang frequently visits the park with her son during her short breaks from work in Shanghai. "Strolling in such a pleasant environment uplifts my mood," she said.

For Zhang Xialang, a resident of a community close to the river, the park adjacent to the waterway has become a cherished daily retreat. "In the past, this area suffered from poor environmental conditions and an abundance of mosquitoes," he remarked, noting the lack of visitors.

Now, an array of trees and blossoms adorn the surroundings, creating a haven for birds that were once a rare sight. "While mosquitoes are no longer a big trouble, the park has become a bustling area, especially in the evening," he said with a smile.

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