The Cao'e River-Ningbo Water Diversion Project started trial operations on June 29, marking a new milestone in water conservancy efforts in East China's Zhejiang province.
The project was the last of six projects in the Eastern Zhejiang Water Diversion Program, which involves a 323-kilometer watercourse that represents an investment of over 11.7 billion yuan ($1.8 billion).
Water shortage has been hindering the sustainable development of eastern Zhejiang. Statistics show that the water stock per capita in the Xiaoshan-Shaoxing-Ningbo Plain is around 830 cubic meters, only a third of the provincial average, while the figure in the island city of Zhoushan is merely 605 cubic meters.
As early as the 1960s, hydraulics experts proposed diverting the waters in the Fuchun River eastward into the Xiaoshan-Shaoxing-Ningbo Plain and the Zhoushan archipelago. In 2003, the proposal was included in the government agenda. Two years later, construction of the aforementioned six key projects started one after another in eastern Zhejiang.
Throughout the construction process, engineers from well-known universities and research institutes across the country solved a host of technical problems related to the impact from tides, sediment accumulation under the sluice, seawater corrosion, as well as the installation of submarine pipelines that have large diameters and thin walls.
The Eastern Zhejiang Water Diversion Program will play a critical role in ensuring water supply, improving water environment, and preventing water-related disasters in eastern Zhejiang. It will benefit 17.5 million people living in the jurisdiction of the four cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Zhoushan.
Cao'e River Sluice, located in the estuary of Qiantang River, is able to consistently resist strong tidal waves. It has won both the Luban Prize, a top award for construction quality in China, and Zhan Tianyou Prize, a top award for civil engineering in China.