At the south most corner of Henan is a large natural water resource, where Mao first had the vision of bringing water from southern part of China to the dry deprived areas of the north in 1952. Seventeen years later Danjiang Lake became the inception of this vision and the village of Taocha therefore became the first village displaced by the South North Water Transfer project. In the first 5 years, over ten thousand young men volunteered to help build the project, it however caused the death of 141 people and over 2800 were injured building the initial length of the water channel.
Today, seeing the grand project completed and functioning, it’s difficult to imagine the sweat and blood behind it. Although, through interviewing a local fisher man by the lake we gained insight into the displaced villagers’ lives. The small village of 700 people used to live off hundreds of acres of land for farming which were reclaimed for the project. They were given large villas to live in as compensation, however their means of income had disappeared. Many resorted to moving to lager cities finding odd jobs such as many construction workers we met in Shanghai. Others like this fisherman lived off fishing in the lake to provide for the family. He wished the government would introduce tourism so he could start a small business, however due to the 1 class protected drinking water, it won’t expand in those directions.
The mega infrastructural project has become essential to northern cities such as Beijing, however the consequences along the way cause displacements of homes and jobs.