One of the most visible crises caused by China's new north-western coal power bases is an ever drier Yellow River, a river considered by the Chinese people as a totem of their culture. The Yellow River, already challenged by water grabbing and pollution, will be further drained by five coal bases. These five coal bases, proven to contain 41% of the country's total coal reserves, are all located on the upper stream of the river. These "big five" are all also heavy consumers of water, sucking the Yellow River's tributaries up and causing them to run dry more frequently, and cutting off water that would otherwise feed into the Yellow River.
Here is a look at the sustained abuse that has been inflicted on the "Mother River" over the last decade.