The decision to build a megaproject was absolutely correct, the president believes.
President Xi Jinping stressed on Friday the importance of further scientific planning and construction of follow-up projects for the south-north water intake project, as well as stimulating the intensive use and conservation of water resources.
Speaking at a symposium on a mega-water intake project in Nanyang, Henan province, Xi called for accelerated steps to develop a national water network and improve the country’s water security capacity across the board over the next five years.
The country should prioritize improving its water distribution system, as well as flood prevention and disaster relief in various river basins, to provide a solid guarantee of water security for China’s modernization, said Xi, who is also the secretary general. Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Committee.
He praised the already commissioned parts of the water intake project, which have diverted more than 40 billion cubic meters of water to northern China to date and directly benefited 120 million people.
According to him, the facts confirm the correctness of the decision of the CPC Central Committee on the construction of the megaproject.
China began construction on the first phase of a south-to-north diversion project that pumps water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries to irrigate arid regions in the north – in 2002 for the eastern route of the project and in 2003 for its middle route. … The western route is still under construction. The middle route entered northern China in 2014 and the eastern route in 2013.
Xi Jinping summarized the project’s experience in six aspects, including ensuring more efficient resource allocation at the central level, prioritizing environmental protection, focusing on water conservation and pollutant treatment, and drawing up detailed water allocation plans.
Moving forward with the abstraction project, Xi stressed the need for coordinated steps to strengthen supply and demand management while taking more stringent measures to conserve water.
According to him, it is important to maximize the integrated effectiveness of projects, determine the scale and overall distribution of projects based on long-term demand and supply of water resources, and resolutely defend against environmental threats.
Xi reaffirmed the importance of prioritizing water conservation, stating that water conservation should be a fundamental solution for districts that receive diverted water supplies.
He added that urban planning, sectoral structure and population size of cities need to be refined based on their water capacity.
He called for measures to coordinate investment and project performance, with stricter measures compared to different plans to minimize land acquisition and resettlement.
To enhance environmental protection, Xi called for a holistic approach to the conservation of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes and pastures, with steps to protect the headwaters of the Yangtze and Yellow River.
He noted that the overall plan of the megaproject had already been made public almost 20 years ago, and the country’s recent challenges have brought new demands on in terms of improved and optimized water supply.
The President stressed the importance of enhancing top-level design and improving strategic mechanisms to guide and advance future projects, stating that plans and projects must stand the test of history and practice.
The symposium was held after Xi made an inspection trip to Sichuan County on Thursday to learn about the management and operation of the megaproject’s middle route, as well as the relocation of migrants.
He visited the hydraulic project before taking a boat trip on the Danjiangkou Reservoir, a water source on the middle route that brings water to northern cities in China, including Beijing and Tianjin.
Xi called for concrete steps to ensure the safety of the project, the reliability of the water supply and the quality of the water, while promising continued support for the development of the reservoir area.
According to him, environmental protection in the area of water sources should be considered as a top priority.
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