China plans massive diversion of Tibetan river water

The Chinese never met a problem they couldn’t solve with a few billion dollars and a massive engineering project out of scale with anything ever attempted before by humanity. The latest is a $37 billion undertaking which would divert water from rivers in the high reaches of Tibet — which, when you think about it, don’t really need all that water anyway — through an elaborate, 190-mile series of canals and tunnels to the western reaches of the over-tapped Yellow River, which feeds the water-parched northern regions of China. The diversion would initially carry about 1 trillion gallons a year, rising to 4.5 trillion gallons over time. Construction could start as soon as 2010. The technical challenges are formidable: for one, the proposed route would divert water from an altitude of 13,600 feet, where it’s usually frozen. Much of Tibet’s water comes from glaciers that are in the midst of melting, so, as Tibet expert Tashi Tsering understates it, “This project is definitely not meant to develop Tibet.”