YUNNAN, China – Fuxian Lake, also known as the “fairy lake,” is the third largest lake in China. It looks like a shape of an upside-down calabash located in Yuxi City, rising 1,720 meters above sea level and spanning an area of 211 square kilometers of land.

Foreign and local tourists spend a 70-kilometer land trip, approximately a two-hour drive from Kunming, the provincial capital, to behold the fascinating lake.

It is also considered as the deepest freshwater lake with a storage capacity of 20.6 billion cubic meters. The lake’s water quality is rated at Level 1 which makes it suitable for drinking.

Two decades ago, the Fuxian Lake was encroached both by water and air pollutions due to mining and illegal constructions in the Yuxi City. The fishes of the lake and the trees of the plateau around the Chengjiang County, Jiangchuan County and Huaning County were threatened. Hence, the lives of the locals were greatly affected.

Restoring the lake

In 2003, the Yuxi government made a drastic move in laying out ecological measures for the city's image.

In a bid to protect and improve the ecological health of the area, the government started formulating plans and actions to shut down 14 phospate rock mines around Maotianshan Mountain and even the 20 enterprises in the runoff area of Fuxian Lake.

Yuxi invested 730 million yuan in the comprehensive treatment of 9 channels around the Fuxian Lake including Daongdahe, Fuchenghe and Shanchonghe.

The Yunnan Provincial Government has issued a set of protection regulations in September 1, 2007. A 100-meter range red line was set from the shore as the “first protection zone” through the entire lake and its watershed.

The local practice of bathing and washing clothes in the lake is now stringently forbidden. The provincial government had also promoted a manpower-driven pedal instead of the motor-driven boats.

Improving the lives of Yuxis

The Yuxi government has taken a series of measures for the lake, including the relocation of 28,000 people, who will be resettled in batches from the first-grade protected area of Fuxian Lake.

Yuxi also focused in carrying out village improvement activities, banned the raising of livestock compulsory, disallowed leasing, and prohibited plastic greenhouses.

Yuxi also paid attention on the improvements of river courses and the building of green sight-seeing corridors, eco-wetlands, water bodies of the standard, recreational channels and rural and urban landscape.

Photos by Greggy Eugenio.

The future of Fuxian lake

Yuxi has embraced sustainable development in terms of culture, tourism and ecological agriculture. The ecological restoration of the lake has been advanced to a historical new height.

The scientific planning of the 13-5 year plan and the building of ecological civilization makes people full of hope again. The 13-5 year plan refers to the 13th Plan of China for 2016-2020.

The Yuxi government is committed to educate the locals on the preventive measures to be taken in preserving the beauty of the Fuxian lake.

The success in revivifying of the Lake is a perfect formula of the government’s will and the huge support from the society. The ceaseless and persistent development will surely result to a long-lasting life for the generation to come. (PNA)