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Water resource ministry looking at infrastructure to boost growth

By Wang Keju | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-26 17:18

Miyun Reservoir, a crucial water source for Beijing, has seen elevated water levels in the past few years thanks to the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. CHEN ZHENHAI/FOR CHINA DAILY

The Ministry of Water Resources is eyeing new infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak and boost sustainable growth.

Shi Chunxian, chief of the ministry's project planning department, said at a news conference on Thursday the country is planning to invest over 1 trillion yuan ($140.5 billion) in more than 100 new major water conservancy projects in the next three years.

Major water conservancy projects feature long industry chains and broad coverage, which could attract large sums of investment and thus create more job opportunities, he said.

Citing research by the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission, Shi noted an investment of 100 billion yuan in major water conservancy projects can drive GDP growth by 0.15 percentage points and create 490,000 new jobs.

Most of these projects have been through years of study, and their construction could be sped up if necessary, he said. 

Wang Shengwan, chief of hydraulic engineering construction with the ministry, said the ministry has been making efforts to push forward the resumption of existing infrastructure project construction.

So far, construction of 101, or 92 percent, of the 110 water projects had resumed, including Datengxia hydropower project in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Those still awaiting a restart are in northeastern and northwestern China -- the country's cold regions, he added.

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