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14:29 Oct 30 2009

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China's "water tower" resumes functions
13:22, October 29, 2009  

To date, 90 percent of the massive project to protect the Sanjiangyuan area have been completed, with investment amounting to 2.4 billion yuan RMB (350 million dollars), according to the Sanjiangyuan Office.

Known as the "water tower of China", the Sanjiangyuan area in Qinghai Province lying at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level, is the source of Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers.

But the ecological environment there has degraded substantially in the past three decades.

To help the area regain its title of "ecological paradise", the Central Government earmarked 7.5 billion yuan RMB (one billion U.S. dollars) in 2005 to undertake the Sanjiangyuan ecological protection and construction project, the largest of its kind in China.

Li Xiaonan, deputy director of the Sanjiangyuan Office, said that the project involves 22 sub-projects, such as returning grazing land to grasslands, ecological migration, plague prevention and control, and artificial precipitation.

He said that since the project to return grazing land to grasslands was launched in the Sanjiangyuan area in 2003, notable achievements have been made in the ecological environment, with the result that the functions of the "water tower" have been recovering.

Statistics show that the amount of water flowing out of the area was 41.2 billion, 49.2 billion and 50.2 billion cubic meters, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. 

Maduo County, Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, known as the first county of the Yellow River headwaters, has become an epitome of the effectiveness of the project. By now, 4,000 lakes have been restored in the county.

So far, 300 million yuan RMB (44 million dollars) has been spent on building 88 migrants' communities, with 10,000 households of 50,000 people relocated, and 186 million yuan RMB (27 million dollars) spent on energy projects, with solar energy accessible to 45,000 households of herders.

Source: Xinhuanet

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