New system to bring more water to Shenyang
The network could multiply Shenyang's water surface from the current 2.7 per cent of the city's total territory to 10 per cent within five years, said Shenyang City Mayor Chen Zhenggao.
The network could also help Shenyang combat flooding, Chen said.
"More importantly, this would attract more investment from home and abroad," Chen said.
This summer, hit by heavy rains, Shenyang has been threatened by floods.
As the biggest city in Northeast China, Shenyang plays a key role in central government's strategy to revive the country's northeast, the traditional industrial base.
The government has put a lot of effort to change the city's role from a industrial area, which is heavily polluted, and is applying an environmental model on it.
The new water system project is the fifth large undertaking in Shenyang in less than five years. Other projects have focused on urban landscaping, air pollution, transportation and garbage disposal, said Zhou Yibing, senior engineer from the Shenyang Urban Planning & Design Institute.
Zhou said the new water network would link rivers and lakes in the central part of Shenyang.
According to local urban planning and design institute, Shenyang has 26 rivers and 19 lakes and reservoirs.
With its current water network, Shenyang has the foundation to enlarge the city water system, said Li Jingsheng, a professor from Tongji University.
Li said the labour needed to dig would not be much. Some 88 per cent of area of the new water system is already there.
Zhou said water to fill the new network would come from three main sources: treated water from sewage farm, the Hunhe River and rainfall.
"We could deal with 900,000 tons of waste water and this amount may greatly help maintain the new water system," he said.
Although he pointed out that water quality needs further improvement.
However, Wei Guoping, an expert from one local chemical plant, said he is doubtful about this project.
"Sure, this project could largely improve our environment if it can be properly planned. But you must notice that this consumes a large amount of water from Hunhe, the main river of Shenyang. I am not sure about its future," said Wei.
The problem, said Wei, is whether Shenyang can afford the network.
Zhou said the project has been planned since 2002 but the design was once planned for scenic considerations only.
"The incumbent mayor decided to expand the project scale and add more functions such as water recycling and environmental protection to the system," said Zhou.
He declined to give the budget figure of the project but said it needs approval from the Shenyang Municipal People's Congress.
Shenyang will transfer its priority to this project next year, said Zhou.
Other cities, like Lanzhou, capital of Northwest Gansu Province, and Chongqing Municipality in Southwest China, have also planned similar networks.
Most of them are only for scenic considerations, said Zhou.