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Song-Liao River Basin - previous page


Song-Liao River Basin

1. General


The main rivers in the Song-Liao River Basin are:  the Liao River, Songhua River, Heilong River, Wusuli River, Suifen River, Tumen River, Yalu River and others which pour into the Yellow Sea. The total area of the River Basin is 1,238,000 square kilometers.



The Song-Liao River Basin includes Liaoling, Jilin, Heilongjiang Province, four cities of east Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region as well as the areas of Chengde City of Hebei Province. It includes a population of 120 million comprising the Han nationality and minorities such as the Man Chu, Mongolian, Korean, and Xibo nationality.


Shenyang, Dalian, Changchun, Jilin, Harbin, etc. are the main cities in the River Basin.


The Song-Liao River Basin is an important industrial base for the steel, energy, chemical, automotive, and machine manufacturing industries. The timber industry and grain production also play a major role in the economy.


In 2003, the GDP (gross domestic product) from the Songhua and Liao River area amounted to 1 trillion RMB - 9% of the national total. Grain production in 2003 was 65 million tons - 15% of the national production.


2. Physical geography


The Song-Liao River Basin is flat in most parts, the western part is called Daxing'anling, the northern part is Xiaoxing'anling, the eastern part is Zhangguangcailing and Changbai Mountain, the southern part is Qilaotu Mountain, Yiwulu Mountain and Nulu'erhu Mountain, while the middle is the famous black clay areas - Song-Liao Plain, composed of Songneng Plain, Liaohe Plain and some areas of Sanjiang Plain. The total area of the plain is 776,400 square kilometers, in which Songhuajiang Plain is 556,800 square kilometers, Sanjiang Plain (the northern part from Wanda Mountain, simplified as Sanjiang Plain) 43,800 square kilometers and Liaohe Plain 21.96 square kilometers.


Total water resources of the Song-liao Basin is 188.821 billion m3, containing 161.204 billion m3 of surface water and 62.553 billion m3 of groundwater. The potential exploited water is totaled 183.745 billion m3, in which surface water is161.204 billion m3 and groundwater is 22.541 billion m3.


The Song-Liao River Basin mainly consists of the Liao River Basin and Songhuajiang River Basin. The main rivers are the Liao, Songhua, Heilong, Wusuli, Suifen, Tumen, and Yalu. These rivers and others empty into the Yellow Sea.  The Heilong, Wusuli, Suifen, Tumen and Yalu are international rivers.


The Liao River Basin, which originates from Bald-head Hill of Qilaotu Mountains and flows into the Bo Sea near Panjin City, Liaoning Province via Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning Provinces a distance of 1,345km. While the Liao River Basin consists of the west and east Liao River, Liao River, Wai Liao River, Big Liao River and many branches.


Songhuajiang River Basin consists of the Nen River, the second Songhua River and the main stream of Songhua River. The length is 1,370km, 958km and 939km respectively.


Twelve rivers and 5 lakes serve as the boundary between the Song-Liao River Basin and neighboring countries.


3. Society and economy


Song-Liao River Basin covers Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang Provinces and four cities of east Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This area has a population of 120 million. There are 9 mega cities with population over 1 million. They are Shenyang, Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, Changchun, Jilin, Harbin, and Qiqihar.


There are many nationalities living in the Song-Liao River Basin. The Man Chu, Korean, Mongolian and Hui are the largest while the Hezhe, Elunchun, Keerkezi, and Dadan (Tartar) are the smallest.


The Song-Liao River Basin is an important national industrial base for the steel, energy, chemical and automotive industries. Machine tool manufacturing and timber processing are also major parts of the economy.


With more than 100 kinds of mineral resources, the River Basin accounts for more than half of the nations' reserve of oil shale, borax, and steatite. Ten percent of the nations' coal and charcoal reserves are also located in the River Basin.


The Song-Liao River Basin is also an important national base for commercial grain production. The flat plain, fertile soil, abundant rain, pleasant climate, and enough solar illumination favor agricultural production.


An extensive transportation network exists throughout the River Basin. The rail lines, roads, sea and air transportations provide a convenient and reliable means for products and goods to flow throughout the River Basin.


This area plays an important role in China's national economy. In 2003, the GDP of the Songhua and Liao River Basin was 9% of the national GDP - 1 trillion RMB. According to the preliminary forecast, by 2010, the GDP will be 1.7 trillion RMB at an annual increase of about 10%. The rate of urbanization will reach 56%.


4. Management and development


Flood control and drought prevention play an important role in the management and development of the Song-Liao River Basin. With years of construction of water structures, a comprehensive flood control system has taken shape and plays a remarkable role in flood prevention. The important water projects throughout the River Basin include new embankments, new reservoirs, reinforcement of weak reservoirs, and comprehensive management of the estuary.


Construction projects in the River Basin have built embankments to withstand the periodic 20 or 50 year flood occurence.


The structure of thirteen reservoirs has been reinforced. Four new reservoirs, the Guanyinge, the Shuangyang River, the Dongfeng, and the West Mouth of the Spring Reservoir, have been completed. They have a storage capacity of 3,027 billion m3. In addition, a comprehensive management system of the estuary has been established.


At present, in the Liao River Basin there are seven large water reservoir projects: Hongshan, Qinghe, Chaihe, Dahuofang, Guangyinge, Canwo, and the Dahuofan.


In the Songhua River Basin, there are more than 10 large water projects: Cha'ersen Reservoir, Yueliangpao Reservoir, Shankou Hydropower Station, Baishan Hydropower Station, Fengman Hydropower Station, Hailong Reservoir, Shitoukoumen Reservoir, Xinlicheng Reservoir, Jingpohu Hydropower Station and the Lianhua Reservoir, etc..


In addition to the large-scale construction projects, the following have also been set in motion throughout the River Basin: sound utilization of water resources; construction of water facilities and structures on farmland; construction of urban water supply; hydropower generation; and implementation of environmental protection policies.




Tumen River 


                    Dalin River                  

Shimen Reservoir

Dykes and Levees ;

Waterfall in Changbai Mountain



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