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From foul puddles to scenic lake: Xi'an Lake's transformation attracts residents and tourists

By Hou Liqiang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-20 20:21

An area once marred by black, odorous puddles has been transformed into a scenic lake frequented by local residents in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.

"When I was a child, adults always told us to stay away from it," recalled Chen Xu, a resident of Xilongwo village near the lake, which has been named after Xi'an. Sand exploitation had left many small, foul-smelling puddles in the area, said the 37-year-old.

In 2016, while visiting his parents from his job in Xianyang, also in Shaanxi, where he worked in a factory manufacturing steel wire rope, Chen noticed a significant transformation. The black, odorous puddles were gone, replaced by a lake full of water and surrounded by lush trees.

When he learned that local authorities were recruiting sanitation workers for the area, as it attracted more tourists, he decided to take the job and return to his hometown.

The changes to Xi'an Lake began with a local government initiative launched in 2013 to treat the area with reclaimed water. Now, about 20,000 to 70,000 cubic meters of reclaimed water are diverted into the area daily from a nearby sewage treatment plant, creating a 200-hectare lake, the largest reclaimed water body in Xi'an. The reclaimed water undergoes natural purification through the lake before flowing into the Weihe River.

In 2016, the local government further introduced a program to afforest the area and improve infrastructure. They planted trees on the shore, aquatic plants like lotus and reed in the lake, and constructed an almost 6.7-kilometer footpath around the water body.

Yang Yi, who lives in a community five minutes away by car from the lake, said the area has become a popular spot for leisure instead of a place to avoid. She brings her two children to the lake at least once a month. "Many people come for camping. On weekends, the area is often packed with tents," said the 39-year-old. "There are so many visitors that it's not easy to find a place to park our car."

Attracted by the large number of visitors, businesses have opened in the area. One example is V Coffee, which opened a store in the area in 2021. "The scenery here is quite good, and there are many visitors," said Dan Zhengzhong, manager of the store. Business is especially good in the spring, with the store receiving more than 100 customers every day, he added.

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