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Comprising more than 60 sections, each wide enough to accommodate two high-speed trains, it will pass through mountains several thousand metres above sea level in an area plagued by unstable geological conditions. Downstream, in India, the river becomes the Brahmaputra, which joins the Ganges in Bangladesh.
The Tibetan Plateau stops the rain-laden Indian Ocean monsoon from reaching Xinjiang, with the Gobi Desert in the north and the Taklimakan Desert in the south leaving more than 90 per cent of the region unsuitable for human settlement.
However, the Taklimakan sits right at the foot of the Tibetan Plateau, which is known as the water tower of Asia. The more than billion tonnes of water it releases each year — almost enough to fill Lake Erie in the United States — also feeds the source of other major rivers, including the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong known in China as the Lancang and the Ganges.
In recent decades, Chinese government branches, including the Ministry of Water Resources, have come up with engineering blueprints involving huge dams, pumps and tunnels. The Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in southwest China is, like the Tibetan Plateau, an earthquake-prone zone with many active faults.
In the tunnel, Zhang said, flexible materials that were also waterproof and strong would be used to bind concrete pipes together when they passed through fault zones.
The Yunnan Daily said the tunnel would create 3. Wang Wei, a researcher who helped draft the latest Tibet-Xinjiang water tunnel proposal, which was submitted to the central government in March, said more than scientists formed different teams for the nationwide research effort.
It suggested the government drain the Yarlung Tsangpo River at Sangri county in southern Tibet, near the disputed border with India.
China diverts 10 billion cubic metres of water to arid north Sangri county featured a large, relatively flat valley that was ideal for the engineering project. An artificial island would be built in the middle of the river to create rapid turbulence, which could filter out sediment, and direct water to a well.
The well could control the amount of water flowing into the tunnel. Wang, a researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering at Sichuan University in Chengdu, said the tunnel would mostly be underground and would be built in many sections.
In some places, large boring machines with drill heads around 15 metres wide would be lowered through wells to drill tunnels from opposite directions. Some of the drops involved would be so steep that the tunnel would be fitted with hydropower turbines to slow the water flow and avoid damage to lower sections.
The researchers estimated the tunnel would be able to carry 10 billion to 15 billion tonnes of water from the Yarlung Tsangpo River to the Taklimakan Desert each year.
But the cost would be astronomical.
New channel in huge south-north water transfer project to bring relief to parched Beijing Wang said the project would also prompt protests from India and Bangladesh, which lay downstream. Zhang said China would definitely go ahead with the project one day.
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Zhang said the water shortage in Xinjiang was in many ways similar to that in California early in the 20th century.
The nature and scale of the impact remains in the dark. We think you'd also like Thank youYou are on the list. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Tapping Tibetan river to ease distant thirst.Viking Ocean Cruises, which was launched in Europe in , now has four ships.
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