U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- China plans to relocate 400,000 people to make
way for a $60 billion network of canals to supply its dry north with
water from the wetter south.
It will be China's second major forced relocation of residents,
coming after 1.3 million people were moved to make way for the vast
Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in the southwest.
The canals are to move water hundreds of miles from the Yangtze to
Beijing and other parts of the north. The government says building
the South-North Water Diversion Project could take up to 50 years and
cost more than $60 billion.
Areas to be cleared stretch across seven provinces, the official
Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Zhang Jiyao, an official of the
water-diversion project. It didn't say when relocations would begin
or exactly which towns or counties in the densely settled east are to
"The task is arduous and urgent," Zhang was quoted as saying at a
conference on land acquisition for the project.
China says it ranks among the world's driest countries and
providing enough water for its 1.3 billion people, as well as farms
and industry, is a chronic government worry.
State media said that prolonged drought in areas throughout the
country might jeopardize the spring planting of rice and wheat.
Relocations for the Three Gorges Dam prompted protests by
residents who complained that they were paid too little for valuable
farmland and were forced to move to areas with few jobs or poor soil.
The report didn't say whether farmers would be provided with new
land for the latest project.
Apparently trying to ease such fears, Zhang promised that
residents would be compensated and get help to start new lives. He
said local officials were required to sign a "letter of
responsibility" promising to handle the relocations properly.
"We must ensure that good arrangements are made for the life and
production of the relocated people, and that the living standards of
those people will not go down because of the resettlement," he was
quoted as saying.
The network consists of three sets of canals. Work on the central
leg supplying Beijing began in December 2003, a year after the start
of construction on the eastern section. The government hasn't broken
ground for the western section.
Parts of the project follows the route of the Grand Canal, a
waterway built in the 10th century linking Beijing with the city of
Hangzhou, a former imperial capital southwest of Shanghai.
The government says that by 2050, the water-diversion network will
be capable of moving 1.6 trillion cubic feet of water per year.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' past archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.