August 17, 2009
ZHENGZHOU, (Xinhua) — Chinese authorities began Sunday relocating the first batch of rural residents totaling 10,600 in central Henan Province to make way for one of the three routes of the country’s massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project.
The residents in Xichuan County will move to 10 newly-built villages in 10 different counties of Henan, and the project is expected to be finished by Sept. 10, according to the relocation plan designed by the Henan Provincial Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.
They need to move away from the Danjiangkou Reservoir, a water control pivot along the middle route of the diversion project, as the reservoir dam is being heightened to hold more water and ensure water supply for the diversion project, the plan said.
“I am happy to move to a new, larger home,” said Zhang Faxiang, whose family was transferred to a new village in Xuchang County Sunday.
He said concrete roads were built in the new village, which are not commonly seen in central and western Chinese villages. The local government has provided tap water, methane gas for them and built primary schools, recreation centers and other public facilities.
According to the relocation plan, more than 320,000 people in Henan and neighboring Hubei Province will move away from the Danjiangkou Reservoir. Hubei authorities plan to relocate 12,000 people this year.
The South-to-North Water Diversion Project, one of the world’s largest water project, is an effort to divert water from China’s rainy south to its dry north. It has three routes: the eastern, middle and western ones.
The State Council, China’s highest governing body, approved the ambitious project in December 2002 after a half century of debate.