Jonathan Watts in Beijing that is. And the subs in London.
Millions of gallons of water are being diverted to Beijing from areas hit by drought
Millions of gallons! Oh Noes!
Beijing is diverting millions of gallons of water to ensure this dry and dusty city looks its best during the Olympics.
Umm, just what is a million gallons? Ignore the difference between US and Imperial gallons for a moment. An acre foot is some 325,000 gallons and is the annual usage of one US suburban household (I actually thought it was two but Wikipedia says otherwise).
So a million gallons is enough for between 3 and 6 houses.
Scary scary, eh?
If they meant the next order of magntiude up, tens of millions, presumably they would have said so. So the diversion being worried about is for anything between 3 and 60 households\’ worth.
Aaaarg! We\’re all gonna die!
Thanks to a huge diversion, the Shunyi Olympic rowing park project has turned a dry river and its banks into a lush resort with a water surface of 63 hectares (155 acres) and a green area of 53 hectares.
155 acres? Let\’s say 10 ft deep, shall we? And ignore evaporation, leaks, the grass etc. That 500 million gallons just there.
So, what both the journalist and the sub editor really meant was that Beijing is diverting billions of gallons of water.
Out by three orders of magnitude at minimum.
Tens of thousands of people have been relocated for a 192-mile section of the water diversion project, which will open in April, redirecting 300m cubic metres of water from Hebei to the capital. In any year this would be a sacrifice.
Our acre foot is roughly 1,200 cubic metres so that\’s c. 250,000 acre feet or 81,250,000,000 gallons.
Or damn near 100 billion gallons.
Out by five orders of magnitude.
Now that\’s impressive, even for the Guardian.