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South-North Water Transfer Project

South-North Water Transfer Project

China Project
SNWT Project

Why Have Such Projects?

China's solution to water shortage in the Northern Region is to bring water from the Southern Region with an irrigation canal and tunnels. Yes, from the Yangtze River in the south to the Beijing city in the northern arid region where rainfall is less and water streams such as rivers or lakes cannot hold the demand throughout the year. There are over 50 million people which will be benefited from this project in the North.
The government then came up with this project proposal where they had 3 streams say canal, which was to be built from the South green-lands to the North arid region. This project was one of the biggest and the most controversial projects in the history of China and hence named as China's Century Project.

What are the effects of the South-North Water Transfer Project on People?

The locals from the South are happy to share the water as they feel they have been helping in the development of their country and the country's people. They feel like creating a balance between the north and the south which helps in economic and cultural development. The Northern locals are thankful to the government and the people helping in the project as they know the value of each drop and hence provide every needful thing.
Another side of the story is, many people were forced to leave their homes. Around 1.8 lakh and 1.6 lakh from Hubei and Henan respectively. The taxpayer's money has been spent unexpectedly like, 79 billion were spent over the project and it is still not completed.
China Project
SNWT Project

How well will this South-North Water Transfer Project do?

It was controversial as well as too costly to build because it's not an easy task to just make the canal and divert the flow. It required proper planning, designing, development, plants, infrastructure, and resources. No doubt that this country has most of it in the first place but they had to go through many difficulties. This First Step was to have a reservoir that will hold the water throughout the year and provide sufficient water to both the end (because you simply can stop the flow for another bunch of consumers). They built the Reservoir which holds the water. The canal system was built and it is in a trapezoidal shape that helps in high discharge with less excavation, which is a basic concept of Civil Engineering. The Construction of just the central stream took over 12 years to complete and had its first drop of water to flow from the south to north, that water takes almost 17 days to reach the northern region which covers a 14000 km path. It almost transferred 9.6 billion cubic meters of water and currently, about 60 to 70 % of the demand from Beijing is fulfilled by this project.
Building roads along the length of the canal, providing crosses and bridges over the canal, and some places below them were the major task, and to have proper alignment, and keeping the future widening in mind was a big challenge.

What are South-North Water Transfer Project's Benefits?

The project also promises that the water shortage for the north will be solved and the excess method such as rainwater harvesting, pond creation, lakes, storing water, and many more thing has to lead to a better future for the northern region. The government was cornered for why so much money is invested in such a project, but this will definitely be a permanent solution to the shortage of water. The region near the canal will also be benefited from water throughout the year and many more job opportunities will also develop. The project has also helped improve agricultural production and the river and lake environment by supplying fresh water to the farmlands.
The South-North Water Transfer Project will be truly inspiring for a Civil Engineer and many more countries have shown interest in such a project to fight against the water crisis.  


  • Solve water shortage over a long period.
  • Benefits more than 50 million people of which 11 million are from Beijing.
  • Has increased agricultural products in the market.
  • Good effect on the area nearby.
  • Job opportunities to the people nearby and new manufacturing units can utilize this new resource. 


  • The estimated cost is more than the Three Gorges Dam alone. 
  • Forced many people to leave their homes.
  • Many streams will be polluted.
  • Aquatic life will be affected.
  • More dams will be built.


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