China's exploding population spurs world’s largest water diversion project and lots of questions marks

July 14, 2011

Download Story
(AP/Andy Wong)
A motorist passes a sign promising safe water near a canal to the South-North Water Diversion Project in Henan province, China.

As the population of northern China explodes, it needs more water than the land can provide. To bring water to its thirsty cities, the government has embarked on the world’s most expensive and largest engineering feat: the South-North Water Diversion Project. We talk to Kenneth Pomeranz, professor of history at UC-Irvine and author of several books, including The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. He says that while the project is rife with problems, will likely displace millions and might not work, it’s nonetheless necessary for China’s future.

Tune in to All Things Considered tonight (7/14) for the latest installment of Front and Center – WBEZ’s special series examining critical issues in the Great Lakes region as Shannon Heffernan and Heather Radke report on how tribal fishing rights may be the most powerful legal argument for protecting Great Lakes eco-systems.