China's South-to-North Water Diversion Project transfers 53.1 billion cubic meters of water

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China's South-to-North Water Diversion Project transfers 53.1 billion cubic meters of water

Part of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project runs through Nanyang, Henan province, as part of the undated aerial photo. PHOTO XINHUA BEIJING The east and middle routes of China's South-to-North Water Diversion Project have transferred 53.1 billion cubic meters of water as of Friday, according to official data.

The project has replenished over 50 rivers with a total of 8.5 billion cubic meters, and recovered more than 5 billion cubic meters of over-exploited underground water.

Since 2014, over 140 million people in the north, including those in metropolises like Beijing and Tianjin, have relied on the project as a major source of water.

At a meeting on Friday, China's Minister of Water Resources Li Guoying urged action to speed up the construction of the middle route and plan for the western route.

The South-to-North Water Diversion Project has three routes.

The middle route is the most prominent of the three, due to its role in feeding water to the nation's capital. It starts at the Danjiangkou Reservoir in central China's Hubei province and runs through Henan and Hebei before reaching Beijing and Tianjin. ALSO READ: 120 million benefit from the project that diverts water.

The eastern route began operations in November 2013, transferring water from east China's Jiangsu province to areas including Tianjin and Shandong.

The western route is in the planning stage and is yet to be built.