On July 7, CCTV reported that the construction of the main route of the South-North Water Diversion project has begun in Danjiangkou Town, Hubei Province. This project aims to divert water from the Yangtze river from the Three Gorges Dam into the Han Jiang River – a major tributary of the Yangtze.

This project will bring a huge volume of water from the Yangtze River to the arid regions of northern China through a system of canals, to meet the water demand in industrial and agricultural production. The total investment of the project is estimated at 58.2 billion yuan (more than $8.5 billion), the expected completion time is nine years.

Since record keeping began in 1961, Sohu reported that the most severe drought hit the Yangtze river basin this year. The current water level of the Yangtze in Wuhan is at its lowest level.

Then what was the real role of the project during the Three Kingdoms period?

The river water diversion project is a continuation of an unfinished project

Dr. Wang Weiluo,  a well-known expert in environmental ecology and hydraulic engineering living in Germany, explained to Vision Times about what is called the next project of the South to North Water Diversion Project. 

He said, “First of all, let’s talk about a concept that everyone has been talking about lately, that there are a lot of rotten buildings in China, and some people have lived in rotten buildings. Let’s say you have to make do with it, it is still usable, not completely unusable, but it is not done.”

He added that, in fact, the Three Gorges Project and the South-North Water Diversion Project are projects that the Chinese are proud of, even though they are unfinished projects, and they have not been completed. Now add a suffix after it, called next project or next job. For example, the next work of the Three Gorges and the next project of the South-North Water Diversion.

The Han River Diversion and Filling Project is the first project to commence in the next project of the South-North Water Diversion Project. This means that there are still many, many steps or connecting projects to complete in the South to North Water Diversion Project.

Before this project to divert water from the Yangtze River into the Han River, there was another project called river diversion project. The Yinjiangbuhan Canal will connect the Three Gorges Dam and the South-North Water Diversion Project, which started on July 7 and is expected to take 10 years to build.

With a length of underground part of the Yinjiangbuhan tunnel will be 194.8km (about 121 miles), and will overtake the world’s longest aqueduct in Finland – stretching 120km in a 130 meter (over 400 feet)-deep rock bed.

The tunnel started from below the Gezhouba River to the Jingjiang River, above Shashi County in Jingzhou during Three Kingdoms period. This canal sends more than 3 billion cubic meters of water from the Yangtze River into the Han River every year, so it is called a project to divert water into the Han River.

When the Three Gorges Project was launched, in 1992, thousands of National Assembly deputies raised their hands to vote, saying that the first goal of the Three Gorges project was to prevent floods, the second was to produce electricity, the third was to improve transportation, the fourth was the South to North Water Diversion Project, and the fifth goal was to bring development to the area, that is help the the people of the Three Gorges Dam area become rich.

When the Three Gorges Project was supposed to be completed in 2009, the South-North Water Diversion was not yet completed, and the Three Gorges Dam construction had little to do with the South-North Diversion project. This year, when the CCP described a project to divert water from the Yangtze River into the Han River, they always use this sentence: “The Three Gorges Project and the Danjiangkou Reservoir are connected, or The Three Gorges Project and the South-North Water Transfer Project are linked together.”

Actual investment in China’s irrigation projects is normally 4 times higher than expected

Wang Weiluo pointed out: “Here in another word, the static investment of the project to divert the Yangtze River is 58.2 billion yuan. The cost of the project continues to climb. In March of this year the investment capital was 52.8 billion yuan, this time when it officially started, it had increased by nearly 6 billion.

According to Wang, phrases that everyone hears now is “dynamic erasure” and “static control.” The words dynamic and static are very widely used, this comes from the Three Gorges Project.

According to China Week, before the Three Gorges Project was started, the static investment capital (tentative capital) for this project had been proposed in a 1989 feasibility study. The projected capital was 36 billion yuan ($5.2 billion) and dynamic investment (actual capital) was 14.5 billion yuan currency (about $2.1 billion). The amount of dynamic investment proposed by the administration at that time was much smaller than the amount of static investment.

When the Three Gorges Project started in 1992, the amount of active investment at that time was 57 billion yuan (about $8.3 billion), when the project was completed, its dynamic investment amount was more than 200 billion yuan (nearly $30 billion). It is static planning, dynamic control.

At that time, there was a common understanding in the irrigation industry in China, that the amount you spend in the end should be 4 times what you first reported. For example, the Three Gorges project was 36 billion yuan when proposed, and 57 billion yuan when approved by the National People’s Congress and more than 200 billion yuan when completed, almost 4 times that number.

What the South-North Water Transfer Project has accomplished is currently only the first phase of the East Line Project and the first phase of the Mid Line Project. It was said that these two early-stage projects would cost more than 10 billion yuan upon completion. Later, it was said the price tag was 500 billion yuan, and then said that 500 billion yuan refers to the completion of the east, middle and west lines.

Anyway, Chinese officials said that they have to deal with political accounts, and political influence is very important. The biggest meaning of this South-North Water Diversion Project is to protect China, even without using the phrase “water security.”

That is, this project has now reached more than 58 billion yuan, is a very large project, costs a lot of money, but it does not need the approval of the National People’s Congress to start, nor any mandatory procedure, Wang revealed.

He said that the project officially started on 7/7 has no effect on the Chinese, nor does it cause any hostility, mainly because it is disturbed by some other things. On July 6, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died, and then on July 10, depositors of town banks in Henan went to Zhengzhou to protect their interests, and then there were hundreds of unfinished construction sites across the country, the refugees were forced to stop making mortgage payments. So everyone pays attention to that part, and doesn’t pay too much attention to this.

China’s GDP grew only 0.4% in the second quarter of this year, and the total for the first half of this year was only 2.5%. This year’s target is 5.5%. Many people think this year’s target is out of reach.

However, from the central to local governments, they are actively investing in the construction and implementation of many projects with huge investment capital, the GDP index will immediately be pulled up, the target will be completed.

The big money finally comes from the people

Wang also specifically mentioned that the CCP often raises funds by issuing special national debt to obtain the huge capital needed for projects.

He said: “It’s issuing this special national debt to pull money from ordinary people, or from these companies. Now it wants to stimulate economic growth, the numbers have to go up at least before the 20th Party Congress.” 

According to the irrigation bureau’s calculations, every 200,000 yuan invested by the irrigation bureau can create a job opportunity. One trillion yuan currently can create a lot of jobs. Due to these water conservation projects, the sediment in the reservoir is removed, called reservoir dredging, and it costs almost 60 yuan to remove one cubic meter of sediment. Currently many reservoirs need to be dredged, not only the reservoir in Henan, but also the Sanmenxia Reservoir on the Yellow River.

At least one billion cubic meters of sediment has accumulated in the Sanmenxia Reservoir of the Yellow River. If you dig one cubic meter for 60 yuan, another 60 billion yuan will be needed.

The project currently relies on a large amount of investment from the irrigation sector, the transportation sector, and other state-owned enterprises. The CCP wants to stimulate the development of this economy and reduce the impact of unemployment on Chinese society, its political foundation. So, such a large project, and one that is so absurd, could end up being a project of more than 58 billion yuan (about $8.4 billion).

Last year, floods in Zhengzhou, Henan, caused more than 100 billion yuan in damages. Currently a project in Henan is a reconstruction project after the floods in Zhengzhou, with an investment of 300 billion yuan ($43.4 billion). According to Wang, this shows that the CCP does not care about the effectiveness of this investment, and it does not consider whether building a sponge city (a form of architecture that imitates nature, resists flooding, flooding without drainage) can solve the problem of urban flooding. At that time, more than 50 billion yuan was invested in flood prevention, but it showed no effect. And now the CCP is throwing away another 300 billion yuan.

A third of the money flows into the pockets of corrupt officials

Wang also revealed why such a large project has the active support of all parts of the local government. How many years does he have to stay there? So the bigger the amount of this investment, the more money everyone gets.

He said: “I saw someone in China say online, why is the landfill drainage pipeline project in China so poorly executed?” He said that for any underground project, if you can put 50% of the investment capital in, it is very good. Why? Because you can’t see it, you can’t test it. So there’s too much oil and water in this, and everyone please take some.”

Xi Jinping has fought corruption since coming to power. Currently, the amount corrupt officials in China have seized amounts to hundreds of millions of yuan (billions of dollars).

According to Wang, the CCP previously set up a rule called embezzlement of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) and anyone could be sentenced to one year in prison. There is a mayor in Hangzhou who embezzled 110,000 yuan (more than $16,000) and was sentenced to 11 years. Recently, the case of Sun Lijun’s corruption of more than 600 million yuan (more than $88 million), how many years did he have to stay in prison? Therefore, the bigger the capital investment, the more corrupt money people get.

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