Aug. 09, 2022

Searching for China’s Water(10) Watershed Dividing Two Rivers

Searching for China’s Water(10)

-Watershed In The Mountain Dividing the Yangtze and Yellow River
Words and Pictures by Yongchen Wang

I woke up early this morning with the students in Huangheyuan(source of the Yellow River)primary school after a long night sticking together with them. It was interesting to see kids standing in a straight line when I came out with myself dressed up. One of them knocked at the teacher’s door. Young as they are, they are more than just sensible.

 Doing exercise


Mark time (in their own way)
  The following morning exercise made me totally at a loss. I wondered if the teacher thought them so, many a kid marked time in a strange way: the same hands with the feet!
  However, the morning exercise is different from what we do in the mainland. It’s divided into three parts: First, running, and then do broadcasting gymnastics, Gordro dance (a traditional Tibetan folk dance) comes the last and to my surprise, their dance is kind of professional.

Plateau on children’s face

     After the breakfast (steamed bread with the ghee: a clarified, semi fluid butter used especially in Indian cooking.), the children had to wash and wipe their own bowls with the black cloth. Now, their greatest difficulty is the need of diesel to generate electric power, said the school teacher last night; and the school did have some serious problems in the financial expenditure.
     Nowadays, some farmers in this region spend 3000 Yuan to buy a small water generator to solve all the electricity problems at home, which can save them a large amount of money by paying off at one time. But in this area, it’s not a big deal.
    I have sold our books for charity for years wherever I go, all the profit will be donated to Nujiang primary school for their library construction. For the long last friendship having been built up these years, both of the buyers and the sellers have the enthusiasm to carry on, which left us some available money to buy a small hydro generator for Huangheyuan primary school, besides that spent on the magazines and movie discs for as much as 38 schools every year. We should be honored of what we have done after seeing the picture in front of us:children of the river source is living in simple but unique way.
The moment I said good bye to them, a question haunted in my mind for a long time finally broke out: which of you want to go to the college in Beijing? Please put up your hand, we will help you. Some children seem to be shy at the beginning, but later, inspired by the teacher, they raised their hands one by one. A boy put up his hand still and high into the blue-sky when others h put down theirs.


 Study in Beijing

We pulled in on the half way not long after we left, attracted by the waves of the bleat without knowing that there were thousands of sheep waiting for being vaccinated until we approached the pool . Poor sheep, they have no idea what those people are about to do is for the sake of their health. No wonder, however, animals ‘fear of us human beings has a long history. 

  Waiting for being vaccinated

   Yangyong parked his car at a mountain ridge, the watershed of the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, belonging to Bayan Mountains carats. The branch of Yangtze River here extends to a length of over 800 kms where the yellow river has just begun his long journey into the Bohai Sea. Compared to the former, the yellow river is much like a newborn baby in terms of the river bed and the quantity of water.

The broken line of the watershed


Two rivers separate up here
From the study we conducted here, it’s obvious that the climate change had done something bad to this area, said Yangyong. Because of the changes in groundwater level and the decrease in precipitation, some surface springs in the Yellow River source region almost dry up, some parts of the tributaries of Tongtianhe the Yangtze River basin are in bad condition. The shrink of the wetland in Wide-shallow valley results in deserts and collapsed mound taking over this place, which directly leads to the lack of water in town. Many lakes in Yellow River source region have lost their contact with the main river, apart from that more and more sandlots appear along the river.

The desert has covered this area

Today’s Yangtze and Yellow Rivers District

A desert river
   We stopped by a red river saying goodbye to the yellow river, the next thing came into our sight is Sewuhe, a branch of tongtianhe into the Changjiang River. It was red because of the considerable quantity of mercury and cinnabar mine in the water. In this area, there are thousands of kinds of minerals in water, which reminds me of our interview at the Tuotuohe military depot in the year of 1998. The soldiers get some water a few miles away every day. Meanwhile, people at the Sonandajie station in Kekexili have to get water from a unfrozen spring more than a dozen kilometers away. Nature distributes the natural resources on earth the way it is.

 River in red

Our position
    Last year I saw the red chuma river once when I walked past this area, I also saw the red lancangjiang. Most of the stratigraphic distribution of yellow river source region is of cretaceous period, which is different from what’s in sight consisting of the purple soil of Jurassic and Triassic period. They are of two different geological structure of the system. I read a special column the source of three rivers in china on National Geographic (Chinese edition), when it came to the source of the Yangtze River, some scholars thought that it should be re-established because they found Dangqu might be longer than we thought.
   Yang does not agree, in the view of the quantity of water, there is about 60% of the water of Dangqu coming from the iceberg in Gera Dan Don city. The quantity of Chuma River is one fifth as much as that of Tongtianhe.
The response to global climate change looking for water for china asked us to walk along the Chuma River, to figure out where the source of it is. According to the years of study, Yang speculated it is possible to find more water above, If so, Changjiang River would expend its length to over 7000 kms. However, in terms of water, the status of The Tuotuohe as the source of the Yangtze River can not be changed
If we see the red water (contain the sand beads) as a kind of alternative resource given by nature, this mountain of sand must be the crime scene left by human. The gold-digger hunting for gold here made it today; some of them are from Canada. 

    I got the information that we were going to the old town Qumalai from the schedule,late 70s it was located by the Sewuhe.Although the river here is not red anymore, the quality of water is not drinkable and the water level dropped down quickly. Since living in here is impossible, people left with here in ruins we see today.
 In July last year, I walked past here with the members of the water program in phoenix TV without guide. It was too late when the thought came to me that the block of ruins might be the relics of Qumalai city. So today when we stopped before the giant, I couldn’t stop the feeling of sadness, and sense of loss rush to my head, I can’t help thinking about the future of human beings .I have ever been to the Pompeii in Italy, it’s also a lost city. The same disaster happened to loulan, an old city in Xingjian with the brilliant civilization in ancient time .I don’t know how many lost city there will be ,but for one thing I can be very sure that Mado down ,once the most rich town in china has become the poorest down today because of the degradation of grass.    

Sandy hill, dry river and the old city in ruins

The county Party committee in those days
    Standing by the dumped city, yang told us it was the office of the county party committee, and that was the police office, or, jail.

Standing in the abandoned city 

Looking for wells

The well

Speaking to the life

Sewuhe, the branch of changjiang 

It has something to do with us human
   In order to bring the lost city out in the picture, I had to climb the mountain out of breathe. Standing on the top to see this lost city, the picture of human’s getting along with nature was totally in sight. There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes, so is it. For me ,the question is standing among the cities, mountains, and rivers, the solution of, water problems in China which has cost almost ten years of effort can finally be found. Not illusional , but practical.

View from the top

Lost city of dark clouds
   The last view of this city before we got on aboard, I took my way directly to new Qumalai,the clouds had its feet running after our cars. Dating back to the year of 2007,I used to be told that the motel didn’t supply water to customers which means I had no water to wash my face in the morning, I wonder if there will be water ever… 

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