New industries invest in repairing irrigation canals in exchange for the right to use water from the Yellow River.
A small and poor northwestern province known for its wolfberries, rice, and wool, Ningxia seems an unlikely magnet for such development and reform. Much of the province is a moonscape of desert and alkali flats where nothing organic can grow.
But economy and energy production spikes have turned the province from a primarily agricultural society to one that is putting more attention on developing heavy industry and tapping enormous coal reserves, which supply 99 percent of Ningxia’s energy.
Photography by Aaron Jaffe, a Chicago-based reporter and photographer for Circle of Blue.