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Tunnels under Yellow River to be digged for water diversion project
Updated: 2005-08-01 19:57

Construction of two tunnels beneath the Yellow River, the country's second longest, middle route of the giant south-north water diversion project, will startin August, according to the information from the department in charge of the tunnel.

The entire project of two tunnels, with a designed length of 19.3 km, including two 3.5-km-long tunnels, will be situated 30 km upstream the Yellow River Bridge at Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province.

The tunnels will have a designed water flow capacity of 265 cu m per second each, or an maximum flow capacity of 320 cu m per second each. It will cost 3.1 billion yuan (about 382 million US dollars) and will take 51 months to complete.

The entire tunnel project requires a land requisition of 684 hectares and relocation of 386 residents. Up to now, the preparatory work, including construction of infrastructure at the construction site, and land requisition is moving swiftly.

The tunnels are two of the key works to be finished for the middle route of the south-to-north water diversion project, designed to carry water from the Yangtze River, China's longest, in the country's water-rich southern areas to its arid north.

The south-north water diversion project was first imagined by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952. After protracted debates that lasted nearly a half century, the State Council sanctioned the ambitious project in December 2002.

It plans to divert 44.8 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Yangtze, China's longest river, through eastern, middle and western routes to relieve water shortages in north China by 2050.

The construction of the project's eastern route began in December 2002 and is expected to supply water to Shandong Province by 2007. The central route began in December 2003 and is due to supply water to Henan and Hebei provinces, Beijing and Tianjin by 2010. The western route is scheduled to begin construction in 2010. The massive water diversion project will cost 500 billion yuan (about 61.65 billion US dollars).

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