The Pearl River Delta Water Resources Allocation Project, said to be the largest water diversion project in Guangdong’s history in terms of investment, will bring 847 million cubic meters of water to Shenzhen a year.
Work on the 35.4-billion-yuan (US$5.2 billion) project was inaugurated at a ceremony in Nansha, Guangzhou, on Monday and is scheduled to be finished in five years.
It is the first important infrastructure project since the State Council unveiled the outline development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in February, according to Governor Ma Xingrui, who delivered a speech at the ceremony.
The project will pump water from the Xijiang River to the Dongjiang River, ease water shortages in the eastern cities of the Greater Bay Area and ensure an emergency supply for Hong Kong. An 11.9-kilometer section of the 113-kilometer project will be in Shenzhen.
The project, the longest water project in the province, will go through the city cluster of the Pearl River Delta starting from Liyuzhou in Foshan City, the main stream of the Xijiang River, and ending at Gongming Reservoir in Shenzhen. It is designed to supply an average 1.78 billion cubic meters of water to nearly 30 million people annually.
The project is a great engineering challenge as pipes will be laid 40 to 60 meters under the ground through the whole length, including 2.4 kilometers under the estuary of the Pearl River, the Ministry of Water Resources said.
The Dongjiang River is one of the three major rivers of the Pearl River estuary and the major water source for 40 million residents in eastern Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Heyuan, Huizhou, Dongguan and Hong Kong. It contributes 18 percent of the water resources in Guangdong and supports 28 percent of the population and 48 percent of the GDP in the province.
The water resources utilization rate of the Dongjiang River estuary has reached 38.3 percent, close to the international alarm standard of 40 percent. However, the supply can’t meet the demand. In contrast, the water capacity of the Xijiang River is 10 times that of the Dongjiang, while its utilization rate is only 1.2 percent, according to the provincial water authorities.
It is estimated that the eastern part of the Greater Bay Area will be short of 1.32 billion cubic meters of water in 2030 and 1.71 billion cubic meters in 2040.