Water lilies, reeds and other marshy plants in the Weishan Lake
will not have a thirsty winter after water started being
transferred from China's largest river, the Yangtze, on Sunday.
"The 50-day-long diversion of a total of 110 million cubic metres
of water will help to protect biological species and the ecosystem
of the whole southern four lakes - Weishan Lake, Zhaoyang Lake,
Dushan Lake and Nanyang Lake - in southern part of East China's
Shandong Province," said Vice-Minister of Water Resources Zhai
Haohui, at Sunday's startup ceremony.
According to the vice-minister, the diversion, from Jiangdu in
Jiangsu Province and other eight pumping stations to the lakes, is
also part of the eastern division of the country's
multi-billion-dollar project to divert water from southern China to
quench the thirst of its northern neighbours.
"The transfer is serving as a rehearsal of the mammoth project,
part of which will start by the end of the year," he added.
The Southern Four Lakes is the largest freshwater lake in North
China, as well as an important biological protection area. This
year Shandong Province suffered its worst drought in the past 100
years. The four lakes held a meagre 20 million cubic metres in late
October, compared with the 1.2 billion during the same period last
The dried-up lakes have heavily affected local economic development
areas, which lie among the cities of Jining, Heze and Zaozhuang in
southern Shandong. Some biological species are also facing
late October, Shandong received more than 800 million cubic metres
of water from the upper reaches of Yellow River, the country's
Statistics from the provincial water resources department say that
50 million cubic metres of water, also mainly for ecological
protection, was diverted to the Southern Four Lakes at the time.
However, only 10 million cubic metres of water remained by last
The largest of the four lakes, Weishan Lake, the home of more than
100 kinds of marsh plants and 59 types of birds, had almost dried
order to protect the ecosystem of the four lakes, the central
government has called for no more water to be taken from the lakes
until next year's flood season.
(China Daily December 10, 2002)