Turpan is located 3 hours south east of Urumqi, at the bottom of the Tianshan range , in the middle of the Taklamakan desert. This oasis was a stop-over of the famous silk road. The irrigation system of this oasis is one of the greatest system of ancient china. Taking its origin in the Tianshan Mountain range, the water is flowing down to the oasis with a system of canals and wells (5000 km ) that allows the water to come in in every part of the small city.
With its recent urbanisation and growing cultivation of grapes and other fruits, the city is in need of more water and has decided to dig further down to reach underground water reserve. But as the city is located in the middle of a desert, the underground water resources are very limited and will soon come to an end.
The city is now struggling to keep up with its development and the world bank has recently launched a program to upgrades the traditional irrigation system.