The Datun reservoir, located on the eastern route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, is the major water supply for Dezhou City in Shandong Province.
Forty million residents in Dezhou City of Shandong Province are benefiting from the water diverted from the Yangtze River through the eastern route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.
The eastern route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project has channeled more than 2 billion cubic meters of water from China's wetter south to the arid north since November 2013, benefiting 40 million people in Shandong Province, according to the officials from the Shandong South-to-North Water Diversion Construction Bureau.
One villager, Zhang Jinyun, said he feels water quality is better than before when using underground water as drinking and irrigation sources.
"We used to drink the water from underground, which is not good for our health," he said. "Diseases such as goiters and osteoporosis are quite common among us. But thanks to the project, now we could have the water from the Yangtze River."
Hu Zhouhan, deputy manager of the China Eastern Route Corporation of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, said the surface water has reached the Grade III water quality through water pollution prevention and eco-environment protection along the route.
"The initial phase of the eastern route has achieved progress in satisfying citizens and villagers' daily water use, as well as the need for agriculture and industry, boosting the economic structural adjustment and upgrading," Hu said.
The eastern route helps to solve water shortages in Shandong Province. The water diversion project will also supply water to the fertile farm lands in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, consequently supporting the economic development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
"Ensuring water quality and controlling pollution are crucial to the success of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project," said Gao Degang, manager of the Shandong Eastern Route Corporation of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. "Shandong has appointed river chiefs along the eastern route to oversee the rivers, lakes and reservoirs."
Launched in 2002, the South-to-North Water Diversion Project is an important strategic measure in redistributing China's water resources. The project has improved agricultural production as well as river and lake environments by supplying water for farmland irrigation and to drying rivers.