China will invest 21.3 billion yuan ($3.11 billion) in the south-to-north water diversion program this year, according to office in charge of the program under the State Council.
The total input will include 6.5 billion yuan from the central government, two billion yuan from the south-to-north water diversion program fund and 12.8 billion yuan in bank loans.
The program, aiming to provide sufficient water for China's northern regions which have suffered water dearth for years, will connect the Yangtze River, Huaihe River, Yellow River and Haihe River. It embraces three water-diversion channels -- the eastern, middle and western ones. The program will take 40 to 50 years to complete. Construction of the eastern route started in December 2002, and the first-phase project of the middle route began a year later.
According to the program office, the first-phase project of the eastern route will begin to provide water in 2013, and that of the middle channel, after the flooding season in 2014.
Over the years till the completion of the first-phase projects of the eastern and middle routes, they will annually drive the Chinese economy up by 0.2-0.3 percentage points, providing jobs for 500,000 to 600,000 people every year, according to Zhang Jirao, head of the program office.