Chinese lawmakers and political advisers urged the government to
compensate residents of areas in southern China where water is
diverted to the thirsty northern region.
"People in the water source regions have contributed greatly to
water resource preservation by shutting down large number of plants
in their effort to protect the local ecosystem," said Huang Wei, a
lawmaker from Ankang City of Shaanxi Province, a major water
supplier of China's mammoth south-to-north water diversion
The project, designed to send water from China's longest Yangtze
River to the north via the eastern, middle and western routes, is
to begin supplying water to Beijing in 2008, to help alleviate
water shortage in this arid northern city.
To ensure the water quality, the localities along the routes
have to close their pollutant plants and turn to
environment-friendly projects. This has created financial burden to
the local governments.
In Ankang City alone, 16 enterprises that produced huge profits
and also heavy pollution have been shut down, and as a result, the
city's industrial output value and tax income was reduced by more
than 300 million yuan (US$38 million) and 40 million yuan (US$5.12
million), respectively, per year.
"We have to create jobs for the 3,000 workers who lost their
position after the factory shutdown," said Huang, who is also
secretary of the city committee of the Communist Party of
Pollution of water in the areas also needs to be checked despite
these efforts, said An Qiyuan, a member of the National Committee
of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which is
the highest advisory body in China.
According to An, wastewater discharge along the upper middle
route reaches 120 million tons a year, which greatly threatens the
Both Huang and An urged the central government to establish an
effective mechanism to compensate the localities, so as to
encourage the enthusiasm of the localities in environmental
They suggested the government collect water-use fees from
northern enterprises and residents who benefit from the water
diversion project, and allocate the money to areas suffering losses
for water source protection.
This will help "the southern and northern people share the fruit
of the water-diversion project so they can develop side by side,"
Currently, the eastern and middle routes of the project are
under construction, with total investment estimated at 200 billion
yuan (US$25 billion).
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2007)