Tibetan water to reach inland China by charter train

LHASA - A train full of Tibetan bottled water left Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, and headed for the city of Ningbo in eastern China's Zhejiang province Wednesday morning.

It is the first of a regular set of cargo trains to bring bottled drinking water from Tibet to China's inland areas. Carrying 1,890 tonnes of bottled water in 35 carriages from Tibet, the one-way train will travel 4,500 kilometers and reach its destination in six days.

Tibet, often called Asia's Water Tower, is rich in water resources. It produced over 400,000 tonnes of natural drinking water in 2015, but high transport costs made it difficult to reach the inland market.

The new trains will facilitate trade in areas along the railway route and help Tibet shift its resource advantages into economic ones, said Yu Heping, a local official.

Identifying its fresh water resources as a new sustainable economic pillar of growth, Tibet plans to raise its annual production capacity of drinking water to 5 million tonnes in the next three to five years.

There are also plans to run trains between Lhasa and other cities such as Beijing, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Lanzhou.