Construction to start on Guxian project

By Hou Liqiang in Jixian, Shanxi (China Daily)

Updated: 2024-07-10

Water and sediment management along the Yellow River gets a boost



After seven decades of planning, the Guxian water resources management project, which will manage water and sediment along the Yellow River, has officially transitioned into the construction phase.

The announcement was made during a conference at the project site in Jixian county, Shanxi province, on Tuesday.

Situated in the heart of the Yellow River's middle reaches, the Guxian project aims to govern 65 percent of the Yellow River Basin's territory, regulate 73 percent of its water flow, and manage 60 percent of its sediment, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.

Primarily designed to address flood control and sediment reduction, the project will also regulate and store water. Complemented by hydropower generation infrastructure, it is anticipated it will enhance water supply, irrigation capabilities and the overall ecological health of the Yellow River Basin.

The Yellow River, the world's most sediment-laden river, is also revered as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Due to excessive sediment accumulation, the riverbed stands several meters above its surrounding terrain, contributing to recurrent catastrophic floods and alterations in the river's course.

Vice-Minister of Water Resources Wang Baoen told a news conference in Jixian that the Guxian project will help to reduce flood risks by counteracting the continual elevation of the riverbed. He said the project's regulatory measures are expected to facilitate the scouring and lowering of the riverbed in the Tongguan section in Shaanxi province, as well as in the lower reaches of the Weihe River, a major tributary of the Yellow River.

"This will safeguard flood control efforts in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, and the Guanzhong Plain region," he added.

Shaanxi's Guanzhong Plain stretches for about 40,000 square kilometers and is one of China's oldest agricultural regions. The densely populated plain is home to over 40 million people.

The Guxian project is also set to fortify the Yellow River's water regulation capacity, ensuring its continuous flow, and enhancing food and energy security within the region.

"Through the coordinated management of multiple water resource projects, a dependable water supply essential for the aquatic ecosystems in the lower reaches and estuarine delta of the Yellow River will be guaranteed, thereby bolstering biodiversity and ecosystem stability in those areas," Wang said.

Thanks to the project, many regions in Shanxi and Shaanxi will no longer be dependent on pump stations for agricultural irrigation, he said, with water from the Guxian reservoir automatically flowing into their irrigated areas.