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Xinjiang's water diversion irrigates forests

  URUMQI, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have diverted water from major water sources to irrigate the forests along a river that is drying up.

  On Wednesday morning, as a sluice was lifted, water ran from the Bosten Lake to the Kongque (Peacock) River to nourish the populus euphratica forests in the river's mid- and lower reaches. The forests form part of an important barrier that separates two major deserts.

  The river originates from the Bosten Lake. As water levels in the lake decreased in recent years, the river's mid- and lower reaches suffer from water shortage. This has threatened the eco-system in the forests along the river's banks.

  Beginning in 2016, local authorities organized water diversion projects. In the past three years, more than 1.1 billion cubic meters of water has been transferred to the river.

  The projects helped increase vegetation and increased underground water levels. The trend of deforestation was also curbed.

  Starting this spring, authorities plan to divert 150 million cubic meters of water to the river's mid- and lower reaches.