Mar. 23, 2023

Searching for China’s Water(11) The River’s Origin is Suffering

Searching for China’s Water(11)-The River’s Origin is Suffering
Words and Pictures by Yongchen Wang

June 28thn, 2009. The Qu Ma Lai Jiaotong Hotel is better than the one we stayed last year which didn’t offer water to wash face, for there is a bottle of water available in the yard. However, before using the water, we have already learnt that in this area such quantities of water cost 0.5 yuan.
0.5 yuan a bottle of weater

The car that sells water on the street
Dried well in the county town
Although the people of the hotel didn’t watch us using water,the price has already obliged everyone to be conserve. It reminded me that in Beijing, the water price is not dear enough for us to cherish each drop we used. Many people still hold the view that whenever we open the tap there will be water flowing out. Moreover, already have many experts suggesting that the city should have unbundling of water usage. It’s acceptable to use water excessively but you have to pay the price since the water resouce is so limited on our earth. Isn’t the  abandoned Qu Ma La city town as a example? Last year, when I was doing an interview in Germany, a person who accompanied us said that she would told her son that he is washing euros when he took a bath for a long time.
Last year, When we was covering a report, some locals told us that this city town of Qu Ma La is to be moved out sooner or later. But this year, the city town is laying pipes on a large scale.
The gross area of Qu Ma Lai Xian is 52 thousand square kilometers and the average altitude is 4500 meters. Due to the lack of water, there is already had a move of city town. However, the water problem is still troubling the citizens here. It’s unimaginable that although this area is undoubtedly the river source, its drought condition is still so serious.

Tibetan Family
Tibetan Kitchen

The house of a Tibetan cadre is quite  daintily. We can take a closer look at the life of his family through this picture. The host of this family is the director general of forestry and public security in this country. The hostress is a cadre as well. In the memory of the hostress who is in her 50s, lacking of water has always being the problem that bothers Ma Lai people. Although there is a well in her family, the water level has become deeper and deeper and sometimes even can be pumped out red water. Moreover, if more people come to pump water from this well, the water will turn out red. Yang yong told us that because the city town we arrived is low-lying so there is still water available; if we go to the higher-lying place and we would find out many dried wells. The photo hanging on the wall caught my attention, for there are two big turns on it. I have took some photos of the turns of rivers, including the Lancang and Nujiang Rivers. However, I have never seen such big turns appearing on the same river side by side. Can we go there? After seeing this photo, all my fellows are longing for the unique scenery of the Heaven Reaching River. 

The Heaven Reaching River
However, Yang yong told us if we want to take this kind of picture we have to ride horse and then climb the moutain. Obviously our time doesn’t allow us to do so.
After having bought some stationaries for Huang He Yuan primary school, we left the biggest country of the Yellow River and headed for the biggest country of the Yangtze River Origin with the pity that we can’t see the beautyful scenery of the Heaven Reaching River.
Buy some stationaries for Huang He Yuan primary school
The Heaven Reaching River
When we have just left the city of Qu Ma Lai Xian and haven’t had ride our car for a while, the leading car stopped. Yang yong guided us to the bank which is under busy  construction. We can easily find out that they are dredging the river.
“If we consider Yangtze River Origin as human’s childhood and how can we bear when seeing our children being treated like that? Why should human beings treat nature, rivers, Yangtze River in its childhood like that? Mud and sand are part of a river, the dredging of sand will lead to the damage of river bank, the draught-up of rivers and the destructive effects upon aquatic animals and plants. Especially at the normal development of a river, the effects that this kind of destruction bring to us maybe unimaginable for us today.” Yang yong said angryly.
The dredge of the Heaven Reaching River

 The Heaven Reaching River here is the childhood of Yangtze River
It obviously that dredging on the Heaven Reaching River is for urban construction.When I was in the Three River Sources last year, I interviewed the local government and their answer made me feel that even though the dredging work has lead the river to such a miserable situation, they have their own reasons. Why it only allows urban people to live in high buildings? Where are those sands which used for constructing high buildings come from? Is it reasonable to let buildings rising up just because you have never seen how they were done? We are dredging from the river due to the fact that constructing needs sandstone and however, then you accuse us of damaging the river, the ecological environment .

The dredge of the Lancang River
From the condition of the dredge of those river souce we can see that it’s impossible to simply depend on limitation. So how can we solve the sands supporting problem for building houses is a realistic challenge laying ahead of us? It is said that in the mainland it’s rather profitable to sell sands. But in the souce of river, dredging is indeed a need for unban and rural construction. So what should we do? We hope that not only the authourities have effective actions but also the pubulic take an active part in environmental proction. Is there someone can come up with some ideas? The protection of the upstream of Yangtze River such as The Heaven Reaching River is not simply a protection that effect on a river. It concerns with the millions of people living on this river as well as the whole ecosystem of the Yangtze River

 The central island that put forth shrub

The shrub along the river bank

Shrub newly grown
The pictures we took is another kind of change of Changjiang banks in Yangyong’s eyes. Besides, in his view, it is a kind of phenomenen that worth studying in. Just the plants around the river bank and central island is not meadow any long but become shrub .This process of changing is evolution, is the varity of plant community. And what else? I have to consult experts on ecosystem and plants afterwards. From the biggest country of the Yellow River, Qu Ma Lai, to the biggest country of the Yangtze River Zhi Duo is only 60 kilometer. We walk along the Heaven Reaching River and saw the difference of hydrology and ecological context. The riverbed we saw in Qu Ma Lai is totally yellow but in Zhi Duo Xian the upstream of Yangtze River is all green. No matter it is the Heaven Reaching River or the each bank of the Nie Qia River.

 Entering the Yangtze River valley

The changes of the Heaven Reaching River on the upsream of the Yangtze River

River source’s marsh

 To see the development of Yangtze River’s childhood though The Heaven Reaching River
When I came to Zhi Duo Xian to conduct a interview last year, I have already known the Nie Qia River electric station. At that time, forestry Environmental Protection science and technology director general Nima told me this is the main source of electry power in this city town. Today. Yangyong standing besides the electric station and tell us that to bulid electric station in such high altitude, there will be half a year unavailable. Why? frozen up. Those years in Yangyong’s investigation of tableland, he saw not only the huge ice cubes freezed up on the facilities of electric station but also saw that Nie Qia River’s heaven reaching river first-class electric station had only being used for 5 years and isn’t available due to frozing. To bulid a electric station in such severe environment, have the constructor ever calculated the cost? Let us set aside whether the electric station have damaged the ecosystem of  tableland first, think about whether the money is well used. To spend so much money on this fragility place and a electric station which simply worked for 5 years. I don't think anyone would be so spendthrift if the money was payed by himself. But can we spend money like that simply because the money is our government’s ?

 Tributaries of the Yangtze River, Nie Qia River electric station

A big tributary that being cut off

The high gorge is out of the plain river
Just several days before we came to the river source, the hydroelectric project of Chin-sha River which our nation’s Ministry of Environment had stopped to examine and give the approval also has such kind of black sheep. The eighth level reservoir of the Chin-sha River electric station had already under construction when the main electric station Tiger Leap Gorge electric station is still in controversy. The eighth level of the upstream electric station has already under construction according to the Tiger Leap Gorge’s loader Capacity. If the Tiger Leap Gorge didn’t be approved in the end, who is going to pay the cost that loader Capacity has wasted?
On this tour of river source we covered that the local government affords many solar energy equipment for herdsmen. Wind and solar power, electric station and other clear resource, are feasible for tableland. The authority has done a lot. For instance, no killing and live in harmony with wild animals is well-done in our nation’s water tower area of the Western Part. Saying here, I think, a mechanism for ecological compensation should come out in our country soon. The inhabitants in the river source use their wisdom to awe nature, respect nature and had already protect our chinese nation’s river for so many years. Up till now, the economy had a long and sound development. Considering from the whole nation, why don’t we have some policy support since we have already had the ability and the river source is well protected even though the  zoology is fragile. Inside it, I think it is not only money but it is the thing that we want to when we put forward the Development of the West Regions idea. Is that simply for the resource? We a great deal of their resource but we have brought all-time damages as well. Therefore, is it better that we try to put respect on the exploit of western culture and custom when we are advocate exploitation? Why those people can keep nature but we can’t? Is it because that we are advanced and they are behindhand? In our interview we can say so if simply seeing from the lifestyle. Because their living condition is like ten years ago. But the air they breathe is fresh, the water they drink is clean and we, the modern people, how can we enjoy this kind of life and what efforts should we pay?
In the water-searching action that we respond to global climate change, when arriving here, an idea came into my mind. The other days when Yangyong standing next to the West line of South-North Water Diversion Project, he said, if construction requires great impact upon the western part, we can’t afford the development that set aside cost and accounts. Our way of finding water is to find how to use our existing water source properly instead of to find water and then use it further by our so-called modern people. So, can our investigation of water find the culture of the Jian Yuan people protecting water resource, find the custom that Jian Yuan people protect as well as looking for water? Then promote it,to use the way that Jian Yuan people is using to apply for the deadlocks which we can’t handle when we first met in our development of modernization. To continue our economy development. Maybe it can be our Chinese nation’s contribution to the world at the same time, since global warming has so much influnce on Jian Yuan but jiangyuan people can still live in harmony with nature. Isn’t that attitudes worthy of finding?

 The source area of Yangtz River

Yan Duo Street’s monk

 Nature of natural scenes

 Reverence for the mountains
Tomorrow we will go to the Suo Jiashan where Yangtz River’s south source Dangqu lies. Last year when we arrived there the Nima director general told me that if we want to see wild animals we should go to Suo Jiashan. Because, we can see the wild animals there wherever and whenever. We are longing for it.

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