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Water projects to cushion impact on economy

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-03-27 09:15
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 considering rolling out a series of major water conservancy projects with a total investment of over 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) to help cushion the negative economic impact from the novel coronavirus.

The number of projects that could be launched this year is in the dozens and is expected to exceed 100 over the next three years, Shi Chunxian, head of project planning at the ministry, said in a news conference on Thursday.

The majority of such major projects have been considered for years.

"There are conditions for accelerating construction, but they will not result in excess production capacity," he noted.

Local governments have also been proactive in getting these projects underway, he added.

Aside from enhancing the country's infrastructure, he said, these projects could create employment and boost economic development, considering the widespread benefits they will bring.

Every 100 billion yuan of investment in major water conservancy projects could drive GDP growth by 0.15 percentage points and add 490,000 job opportunities, he said, citing a research report from the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission.

He said the ministry will ramp up preparation work for these projects and make efforts to create favorable conditions to pave the way for their launch.

Wang Shengwan, chief of water conservancy construction at the ministry, said the country has seen most of its major water conservancy projects launched before the Spring Festival holiday resume construction despite hindering factors from the epidemic outbreak.

Construction on 101 such major projects has resumed. The nine left are in regions still enveloped by freezing weather in Northeast and Northwest China, he noted.

"We planned to resume construction on 100 of the projects by the end of March. So far, we are ahead of schedule," he said.

Almost 100,000 workers are now employed in these projects, he said, adding that 33 of the projects are forging ahead at full steam.

Without disclosing the number of medium and small reservoir projects that began before the holiday break, Wang said 90 percent of them have resumed construction.

"No infections of workers have been reported in these projects. The work safety situation has been stable following the resumptions," he continued.

 

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