Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000km tunnel – the world’s longest – to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang, experts involved in the project say.
The proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world’s highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would “turn Xinjiang into California”, one geotechnical engineer said.
China’s longest tunnel is the eight-year-old 85km Dahuofang water project in Liaoning province, while the world’s longest tunnel is the 137km main water supply pipe beneath the city of New York.
However, the Chinese government started building a tunnel in the centre of Yunnan province in August that will be more than 600km long, local media reported. Comprising more than 60 sections, each wide enough to accommodate two high-speed trains, it will pass through mountains several thousand metres above sea level in an area plagued by unstable geological conditions.
Researchers said building the Yunnan tunnel would be a “rehearsal” of the new technology, engineering methods and equipment needed for the Tibet-Xinjiang tunnel, which would divert the Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang. Downstream, in India, the river becomes the Brahmaputra, which joins the Ganges in Bangladesh.
Read more at South China Morning Post.