It is difficult for most people, myself included, to grasp how large Beijing is. The population density is staggering to most of us, as there are about 22 million people living there and it is still growing! The population growth has led to a few unique problems, and today I wanted to share with you about one surprising situation.
I have heard it said that Beijing is sinking! I know that seems hard to believe, but I can’t imagine this report would be published if there wasn’t some data to reinforce it. So, here is the theory. With the constant growth of Beijing’s population, the need for more and more water is apparent. The belief is that, as more and more water is consumed from beneath Beijing, it is not being replaced by sources. With this void from missing water, the weight of Beijing is actually causing it to sink slightly (less than an inch) annually.
I can honestly say that I don’t recall ever seeing a raging stream near Beijing. I can, however, say I have seen several shallow streams like the ones represented in the photos.
I have heard of an enormous project planned to bring water from south of Beijing into the city. This plan will tap into the river system in the south, and route the water to Beijing. I have heard that canals would be dug, and I have heard that a pipeline with pumps would be used. This project may be in progress or already completed, but I am not sure.
The two photographs above were taken slightly outside Beijing, and the picture below was taken inside Beijing. The stream in the city has concrete walls to control the water and stop erosion. I think you will notice a difference in the water levels also.
I don’t know all that is involved with addressing this issue of sinking, or if it is something worthy of concern, but I do know that Beijing is an amazing city to visit!