China builds world’s longest canal network

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China has diverted 10 billion cubic metres of water from the south to its drought-prone northern regions including Beijing, which are home to 53.1 million people, aided by the world’s longest canal and pipeline network spanning 1,400 kms.


The project was conceived by Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952 but delayed over its likely impact on environment as well as resettlement of people. It was only approved by the State Council in December, 2002, after half a century of debate.

Major challenge

Protection of water quality from unforeseen natural risks in the future.

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It is the second biggest water project undertaken by China after the Three Gorges dam, regarded as the worlds biggest hydropower dam.

The middle route of the project carries water through canals and pipes from Danjiangkou reservoir in central Chinas Hubei province. It began operation in late 2014.

The project has supplied 2.7 billion cubic metres of water to capital Beijing, serving 11 million people.

Currently about 70 per cent of Beijings water supply comes from the project. The citys per capita water resources have increased from 100 to 150 cubic metres. Previously, the citys water supply came mainly from underground water.

Tianjin got 2.2 billion cubic metres of water while Henan and Hebei provinces got 3.5 billion cubic metres and 1.1 billion cubic meters, respectively.


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