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Water quenches thirst for growth

By Fang Aiqing in Beijing and Hu Dongmei in Pengyang, Ningxia | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-13 09:14

[Photo by Hu Dongmei/China Daily]

A regional government document on poverty alleviation released in September 2016 shows that rain-fed farming accounted for 90 percent of total farmlands in underdeveloped areas of the autonomous region, and 80 percent of the cultivated land yielded not much and unsteadily.

Yet, annual rainfall of the county ranges from 350 to 550 millimeters, around one-third of the amount of evaporation, and rainfall from July through September takes up more than 60 percent of the whole year, making the situation in other seasons even worse, according to a government introduction of Pengyang's natural geographic features.

However, with a stable water source now, the locals are actively planting red plum apricots (a local specialty), pepper, edible mushrooms and Chinese medical herbs, and also raising chickens, bees, cattle and sheep.

Niu Detan, general manager of the county's water supply management company, says some locals who used to work outside have come back to run breeding businesses, or operate greenhouses and plant orchards.

People's income is growing every year, Niu says.

All this is thanks to a water transfer project that makes it possible for more than one million people of the Xihaigu area to access safe drinking water since 2016.

The project transfers water from the Jinghe River by the east foot of the Liupan Mountain in southern Ningxia. The river is a tributary of the Weihe River, which, itself, is a tributary of the Yellow River.

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