URUMQI, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 2.5 billion cubic meters of water was discharged to the basin of the Tarim River, China's longest inland river, last year to supply its lower reaches that dried up decades ago.
It was the largest amount of water since the measure began to be taken in 2000, according to the river's administration.
The water was discharged by reservoirs on three source rivers that flow into the Tarim in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
About half of the water went to lower reaches of the Tarim while the rest went to Euphrates poplar forests along the river and the Kongque River in the Tarim Basin, the administration said.
The Tarim River runs 1,321 kilometers along the rim of the barren Tarim Basin, a sparsely populated area about the size of Poland.
Excessive irrigation in the past used too much water, which caused the river's lower reaches to run dry in the early 1970s and push the trees to the verge of disappearance.
A government-backed 10.7-billion-yuan (1.7 billion U.S. dollars) restoration project started in 2000.
The local government also limited industrial and agricultural use of water in cities and counties along the river and returned farmland to grassland.