Decision to build mega project was totally correct, says president
President Xi Jinping inspects the Danjiangkou Reservoir, the start of the middle route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, in Xichuan County, Nanyang, Central China's Henan province, May 13, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]
President Xi Jinping underlined on Friday the importance of furthering the planning and construction of follow-up projects of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project in a scientific manner and bolstering the intensive use and conservation of water resources.
Speaking at a symposium on the mega water diversion project in Nanyang, Henan province, Xi called for accelerated steps to develop a national network of water resources and improve the nation's capacity to ensure water security across the board in the next five years.
The nation must prioritize refining its system of allocating water resources as well as its flood prevention and disaster relief system in different river basins in order to provide a strong guarantee in terms of water security for China's modernization drive, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
He spoke highly of the parts of the water diversion project that had already been put into operation, which have so far diverted over 40 billion cubic meters of water to northern China and directly benefited 120 million people.
Facts have proved that the CPC Central Committee's decision to build the mega project was totally correct, he said.
China began construction of the first phase of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project-which transfers water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries to irrigate arid regions in the north-in 2002 for the project's eastern route and in 2003 for its middle route. The western route is still in the pre-construction stage. The middle route began supplying water to northern China in 2014, while the eastern route became operational in 2013.
Xi summed up the experience of the project in six aspects, including enabling the improved allocation of resources from the central level, prioritizing protection of the environment, emphasizing water conservation and pollutant treatment and mapping out detailed plans for water resource allocation.
In moving forward with the water diversion project, Xi highlighted the need for coordinated steps to strengthen management in demand and supply while putting in place stronger water conservation measures.
It is important to maximize the comprehensive efficiency of projects, determine the scale and overall distribution of projects based on the long-term demand and supply of water resources and resolutely guard against threats to ecological security, he said.
President Xi Jinping talks with residents in Zouzhuang, a village in Nanyang, Henan province, on Thursday afternoon. He was informed about the resettlement of people due to the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, and measures to develop specialty industries and boost the incomes of resettled residents. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi reiterated the significance of prioritizing water conservation, saying that saving water should be the fundamental solution for areas that receive diverted water supplies.
He added that the urban planning, industry structure and population scale of cities must be refined based on their capacity of water resources.
He called for measures to coordinate project investment and efficiency, with stronger measures to compare different plans in order to minimize land acquisition and resettlement.
To boost ecological protection, Xi called for a holistic approach to conserving mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands, with steps to enhance the conservation of headwaters in both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers.
He noted that the overall plan of the mega project had already been promulgated almost 20 years ago, and the nation's latest challenges posed new requirements in terms of an enhanced and optimized water supply.
The president stressed the significance of ramping up top-level design and improving strategic arrangements to guide and advance follow-up projects, saying that the plans and designs must stand up to the test of history and practice.
The symposium was held after Xi made an inspection trip to Xichuan county on Thursday to learn about the management and operation of the middle route of the mega project as well as the resettlement of migrants.
He visited a hydraulic project before taking a boat trip on the Danjiangkou Reservoir, the water source of the middle route that delivers water to China's northern cities including Beijing and Tianjin.
Xi called for concrete steps to ensure the safety of the project, the security of the water supply and the quality of water while pledging continuous support for the development of the reservoir area.
The protection of the environment of the water source area must be seen as the top priority, he said.