ChinaDialogue has a fascinating article about the Bohai Pipeline- an incredibly ambitious project that might eventually take water from the Pacific and deposit it in western China. The scale of this task would dwarf even the Three Gorges Dam.
Last November, as government leaders considered energy goals for China’s upcoming 12th Five-Year Plan – which was adopted in March – 60-year-old geographer Huo Youguang took the podium at an academic meeting about water scarcity and coal production in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, north-west China, one of the driest inhabited areas on the planet.
Over the next half-hour or so, Huo described a first-of-its-kind transcontinental pipeline that he believed could be a breakthrough in developing more fossil energy from Xinjiang and China’s other northern coal-rich regions, while conserving scarce freshwater reserves.
His proposal: drop a pipe into the Bohai Sea in China’s east, draw more than 340,000 cubic metres of seawater a day into a complex of coastal desalination plants, and then pump this water 1,400 metres uphill for more than 600 kilometres to Xilinhot, where it will be used for coal mining operations.
Wow. China is faced with big problems that require big solutions- we’ll see if this qualifies. One way or another, this surely isn’t the last we’ll hear about the Bohai Pipeline.