New Report: Resettlement in Action

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The $62 billion South-North Water Transfer Project is the biggest engineering scheme in Chinese history. About 330,000 people are currently being relocated for the expansion of the Danjiangkou reservoir, which marks the beginning of the transfer project's Middle Route. International Rivers has published an eyewitness report on China's biggest ongoing resettlement project. The report finds that the Chinese government has learned lessons from the experience with the Three Gorges Dam, but that serious problems remain.

Some of the main findings of the report include:

  • The levels of compensation and post-resettlement support have been significantly increased, and resettlement policies are more detailed than in the past.
  • Resettlers are no longer moved out of their home provinces.
  • The authorities have so far relied on persuasion rather than force to implement the relocation project. They have also instituted a certain degree of participation in project implementation through the involvement of elected resettlement committees.
  • Danjiangkou dam
    Danjiangkou dam
    At the same time, affected people were not involved in preparing the resettlement policies, which has created unnecessary problems.
  • Affected people have no freedom to choose among different resettlement options.
  • The resettlement budget is relatively low, which may cause problems particularly in the post-resettlement phase.
  • Resettlement within the reservoir area will increase population density, fuel social tensions, and add pressure on ecosystems which are already under stress.

The report recommends that the participation of affected people in the project be improved, and that government support, particularly for the period after resettlement, be strengthened. The report also urges the Chinese authorities to take the ecological limits of the region into account as they implement the water transfer project.

Footage taken at the construction site:

More information: 

"Mixed Grade for Water Diversion Relocation," WSJ Blog China Real Time Report