Resettlement of about 27,000 downtown residents of Jiaozuo City in the central Henan Province started this week to make way for China’s massive south-to-north water diversion program, the provincial water diversion office said Friday. Resettlement is scheduled to finish at the end of September, when work on the trunk channel of the central route will start.
The program will connect the Yangtze, Huaihe, Yellow and Haihe rivers. It will have three channels — eastern, central and western. Construction of the eastern channel started in December 2002, and work on the first phase of the central channel began a year later.
The central route will traverse the provinces of Hubei, Henan and Hebei and the municipalities of Tianjin and Beijing. About 402,000 people will be relocated to make way for it.
Jiaozuo City, with an inner-city population of 870,000, is the only city where the central channel of the project will run directly downtown.
Wang Shushan, head of the Henan water diversion office, said resettlement would take residents’ willingness and advice into account. A new residential area would be built for those who moved, Wang added, and start-up businesses in the new area would get tax breaks.
The first phase of the eastern channel is scheduled to start providing water in 2013, with the central channel opening in 2014.