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Massive Chinese water diversion project accelerates

(Xinhua)

09:22, March 22, 2012

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Construction on a project to divert water from south China to the arid north has been accelerating, with some diversion channels set to go into operation soon, an official leading the project said.

The resettlement of residents affected by the project has been proceeding smoothly, Vice Premier Li Keqiang, also director of the committee in charge of building the water project, said Tuesday.

Upon completion, the project will feature three primary diversion channels: an eastern channel, a central channel and a western channel.

Li noted that a countdown has begun for the opening of the eastern channel, while the central channel will go into operation in 2014.

The project will be helpful for the dry north, which in recent years has been hit by frequent droughts. Beijing and its neighbor Tianjin have received about 40 percent less precipitation this winter than in previous years, Li said.

Construction on the project was launched in late 2002. Investment in the project was 57.8 billion yuan (9.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, with the accumulative amount spent reaching 137.6 billion yuan.

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