Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (7): 1189-1203.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201807001

• Academician Forum •     Next Articles

"Three Water Lines" strategy: Its spatial patterns and effects on water resources allocation in northwest China

DENG Mingjiang()   

  1. Xinjiang Ertix River Basin Development and Construction Management Bureau, Urumqi 830000, China
  • Received:2018-03-29 Online:2018-07-25 Published:2018-07-13


Water is the lifeline of socio-economic sustainable development in northwest China. The land area of northwestern region accounts for 35.9% of China's total, but it has only about 5% of water resources of the whole country. This study proposed the "Three Water Lines" (Heihe-Tengchong Line, Yangguan Line, and Qitai-Cele Line) of northwest China under the perspective of the evolution of hydro-meteorology, ecological landscapes and socio-economic development. The "Three Water Lines" were the optimal configuration lines of the rational development and utilization of water resources, the characteristic zoning lines of ecological civilization and environmental protection, the guiding lines of "the Belt and Road Initiative" strategic focus, and the national security lines of long-term stability of the border areas. Facing the existing problems and challenges in the development and utilization of water resources in northwest China, this study proposed the "Three Water Lines" strategy and its spatial pattern coupling with the analysis of scenarios of water diversion of northwest China. The west route of the South-North Water Transfer Project is a fundamental project for the implementation of the "Three Water Lines" strategy. It is essential to overcome the constraints of the socio-economic development through the new strategies: (1) breaking through the "Heihe-Tengchong Line" will promote balanced development between the eastern and western regions of China; (2) Breaking through the current "Yangguan Line" will boost social and economic development in the Hexi Corridor, (3) Breaking through the "Qitai-Cele Line" will enhance water resources and environmental carrying capacity. A new spatial pattern of water resources allocation along the gradient was formed by the "Three Water Lines" strategy. The new water resources allocation patterns will be able to support stable development of socio-economy and ecological civilization construction, optimize population distribution and the layout of socio-economic development, and provide a reliable guarantee of water resources for the implementation of "the Belt and Road Initiative".

Key words: northwest China, "Three Water Lines" strategy, "Yangguan Line", "Qitai-Cele Line", spatial pattern, water resources allocation, coordinated development, China