Business / Green China

Water project tests industrial development

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-21 14:11

WUHAN - Lin Chuntian's livelihood has been cast into doubt since his village was relocated uphill to make way for an expanding reservoir designed to feed China's south-to-north water diversion project.

The 51-year-old and his fellow villagers had to quit growing citrus fruit -- their main source of income for decades -- because the orchard will be submerged as the Danjiangkou Reservoir in centra China begins to rise dramatically in the coming flood season. Near their new homes, each family was given a small plot to grow less profitable vegetables instead.

"We're worried," Lin says. "Selling vegetables can barely cover our living expenses."

Beginning in October this year, water stored in the reservoir, which is in the upper section of the Han River, the largest tributary of the Yangtze River, will flow along channels stretching more than 1,200 km to the country's dry north, including Beijing.

The ambitious project is set to benefit the whole country in the long term, but for now it is testing the government's ability to manage the effects on the central region's population, industry and economy. While individuals like Lin have been caught in the winds of change, the upheaval has stalled local industry.

The relocation of around 340,000 people around the reservoir, including 180,000 in Hubei Province and 160,000 in Henan Province, was completed by the end of 2012. However, the task of ensuring the immigrants settle into their new homes remains arduous.

They have now entered a "sensitive period" and are having difficulty adapting to their new environments, according to the Hubei Immigration Bureau, which worries about the destabilizing effect of the immigrants on local communities.

The number of petitions is growing as resettled villagers like Lin and laid-off workers seek to air grievances over compensation and lost jobs.

Water project tests industrial development

Water project tests industrial development

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