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Experts Point out: Unpractical Manmade Waterscape through Holding up River and Enclosing Water will Raise Serious Ecological Problems
LIN Wei and ZHANG Jun, Journalists from Xin Hua News Agency and Outlook Weekly, reported the other day that a trend of building man-made waterscapes appeared in some cities of North and Northwest China where water resource is extremely scarce. Some of these cities built dams and held up rivers to "enclose" the water inside the city, while some of them created waterscape through digging tip the ground to build lakes which had cost a huge amount of money. According to a survey, there have been 16 medium-sized and large cities which are building waterscapes along the Yellow River area. The relevant "river-enclosing" funds that are planned to be invested in Zhengzhou, Xi'an, and Xianyang have reached more than 4 billion RMB. Statistic shows that the built tip and planned area of man-made waterscapes in Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Xi'an, Xianyang, Baoji, Shizuishan, and Taiyuan amounts to 56 km2, which equals to the area of l0 West Lakes in Hangzhou.

Statistic publicized by the Ministry of Water Resource shows that the total amount of water shortage in China is about 30 to 40 billion steres per year; the area of drought farmland is around 7 million to 20 million hectares per year, and there are 400 cities being short of water and 110 cities being in the extreme condition among the 669 cities all over the country. In the vast rural area, more than 300 million people have no way or cannot afford to obtain safe water. Water shortage has become a severe restriction to the economic and social development in urban and rural areas in North China.

Through their interviews, reporters found that though most of these "water-enclosing" projects were created in the name of "tidying and cleaning the river", "flood prevention" and "swamp protection", the real purpose hidden behind was to help raise the price of real estate of the city. Experts emphasized that on appearance, it is the government who advocates the creation of waterscapes through enclosing water, but in fact it is the real estate developers who promote this action underhanded.

Experts concerned pointed out that many northern cities that can hardly ensure the water for households and production invest a great amount of money on occupying vast freshwater to create man-made waterscapes, which not only wastes water resource and fund, but also leads to many hidden ecological troubles.

The first trouble is that though it is beautiful on surface, it is catastrophic beneath; and though it is beautiful upriver, it is catastrophic downriver. Secondly, the situation of pollution will be out of control. Thirdly, the serious filling tip of silts will lead to an obstacle in getting through flood. As a result, it will influence the safety of flood prevention and put burden on the financial budget. Moreover, the great amount of evaporation will waste water resource stupendously.

Therefore, some experts in the fields of water conservancy and environment protection suggest that though cities need waterscapes, such kind of luxurious use of water should be forbidden. The impractical actions of holding up river, enclosing water and creating sights blindly may lead to serious ecological problems.

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