China mulls 1,000-km tunnel to divert Brahmaputra

BEIJING, Oct 30: Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000-km long tunnel to divert water from Brahmaputra River in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh to the parched Xinjiang region, a media report said.
The move, that is expected to “turn Xinjiang into California”, has raised concerns among environmentalists about its likely impact on the Himalayan region, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
The proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world’s highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would provide water in China’s largest administrative division, comprising vast swathes of deserts and dry grasslands.
The water would be diverted from the Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet, which turns into the river Brahmaputra once it enters India, to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang.
India, a riparian state, has already flagged its concerns to Beijing about various dams being built by it on Brahmaputra, which is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in China.
Beijing has been assuring India and Bangladesh, which is also a recipient of the waters from the river that its dams were of the run of river projects and not designed to storing water.
Wang Wei, a researcher who helped draft the latest Tibet- Xinjiang water tunnel proposal, which was submitted to the central government in March, said more than 100 scientists formed different teams for the nationwide research effort.
The team, according to the report, suggested to drain Brahmaputra at Sangri county in southern Tibet, close to Arunachal Pradesh.