When the Kunming government unveiled plans in 2003 to build a mammoth new urban area in Chenggong County, few could have imagined that the project would now be posing a threat to water quality in Fuxian Lake, which lies about 50 kilometers to Kunming's southeast.
After all, the Chenggong New Area development is situated near the eastern shore of Dianchi Lake, which is part of the Yangtze River watershed. Scenic Fuxian Lake, on the other hand, is separated from Kunming by a ridge of mountains and drains into the Pearl River basin. Runoff from Chenggong is therefore incapable of polluting Fuxian Lake.
Instead, the problem is the large number of farmers that have been displaced from Chenggong in recent years to make way for apartment blocks, government buildings and new university campuses, according to a Yunnan Net report. These displaced farmers have resettled in the Fuxian Lake basin, particularly around the city of Chengjiang at the lake's northern end, and begun farming there, increasing fertilizer and pesticide runoffs.
According to "incomplete" government statistics, by January of 2010 there were at least 2,181 displaced Chenggong households living in the Chengjiang area and farming 2,360 hectares of leased land. A large portion of these are flower growers, who produce year-round in greenhouses and use large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Yunnan Net interviewed one flower grower named Zhang Huiqiang who was displaced from Chenggong's Jinmapu village in 2009 and now has a 0.7-hectare growing operation near Fuxian's northern shore. "This family has been growing flowers for generations," said Zhang. "We don't know what else to do. Besides, the profits have been quite good lately and we can earn up to 100,000 yuan (US$15,150) a year."
Fuxian Lake remains one of China's cleanest large lakes and is a popular destination for weekend visitors from Kunming. Along with northern Yunnan's Lugu Lake it is one of only two lakes in the province to have a class I water quality rating, compared to a lowest-possible class V in the main body of Dianchi.
But a government report released last year about Fuxian Lake warned that its water quality has been steadily deteriorating over the past decade and could soon slip to a rating of class II.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.