BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- 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, official data showed Saturday.
The project has replenished over 50 rivers with a total of 8.5 billion cubic meters, and recuperated more than 5 billion cubic meters of over-exploited underground water.
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 since 2014.
At a meeting on Friday, China's Minister of Water Resources Li Guoying urged efforts to accelerate follow-up construction of the middle route and planning of 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 begins at the Danjiangkou Reservoir in central China's Hubei Province and runs through Henan and Hebei before reaching Beijing and Tianjin. It began supplying water in December 2014.
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. ■