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Policies and Practice for Rural

Resettlement in the Three Gorges


Duan Yuefang
Research Center for Reservoir Resettlement
China Three Gorges University
Email: peter_yf@aliyun.com
• Introduction to the Three Gorges Project
• Policy Framework on the TGP Rural Resettlement
• Evaluation of the TGP rural resettlement
• Experience
• Challenges
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
(1)The Three Gorges Project
The Three Gorges Project(TGP), located in Sandouping, Yichang
City, Hubei Province, is the largest hydropower station in the world.
The TGP is a concrete gravity dam, with its maximum length being
2,335 meters, a width of 115 meters at the bottom and a width of 40
meters at the top, its maximum height being 185 meters and its normal
impoundment level being 175 meters. The TGP has created huge
benefits in terms of flood control, power generation and navigation
The Three Gorges reservoir is over 600 km long, covering 1,084
km2 . The total storage capacity of the reservoir is 39.3 billion m2, of
which 22.15 billion m3 is for flood control which can decrease flood
frequency from one in 10 years to one in 100 years.
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
With its total installed capacity of 2250 MW, the TGP can generate
about 100 billion kwh a year of electricity. The TGP can reduce coal
consumption by 50 million tons and carbon dioxide emission by nearly
100 million tons each year.
The TGP can enable 10 000 ton ships up-stream to Chongqing
Municipality which can increase the Yangtze’s navigation capacity
from 10 million to 50 million tons a year. As result the navigation
costs can be reduced by 35%-37%.
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
(1)The Three Gorges Project
The Three Gorges Project (TGP)can store 22.1 billion cubic
meters of flood waters and will decrease flood frequency from one in
10 years to one in 100 years. With its total installed capacity of 2500
MW, the TGP can generate about 100 billion kwh a year of electricity,
which accounts for 2.5% of the national annual power output. The
TGP will replace the burning of 50 million tons of raw coal annually
and also enables 10 000 ton ships up-stream to Chongqing. The
Yangtze’s navigation capacity has increased from 10 million to 50
million tons a year which lowers costs by 35%-37%. In engineering
circles it is regarded as a successful water resource project.
1 Introduction to the TGP RResettlement
(2)the Magnitude of the Three Gorges Project Resettlement
According to the original calculation by the Changjiang Water
Resources Commission (CWRC) in 1992, 20 counties or municipal
districts, 227 townships and 1680 villages were wholly or partially
affected by inundation. A total of 847 500 people: 59% urban
(498,800) and 41% rural (348,700) would be displaced. Estimates of
lost assets in the area included 466 300 mu(31088 hectare) of
farmlands, 34 730 000 m2 of housing, 1599 factories and numerous
infrastructure facilities. See Table 1. The total population to be
relocated, including natural growth over the 17 years of construction,
would be more than 1.13 million.
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
Item Amount Item Amount
Counties affected 20 Houses and buildings inundated 34.7
(million m2 )
Townships affected 277 land inundated (km2) 632

Villages affected 1680 Farmlands inundated(mu) 5067600

Cities and county towns 12 Arable land 252600

Factories affected 1599 Citrus orchard 108300

Number of population affected 847500 Forest land 48000

Rural population 348700 Flooding land 57400

Urban population 498800

1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
(3)Budgeting of the TGP resettlement(1993)
Budget Budget
Items Items
(billion) (billion)

Rural resettlement 6.019 Environmental protection 0.291

Urban relocation 13.655 Training 0.329

Planning, designing and monitoring

Factory relocation 6.827 3.382
and so on
4.261 Tax for occupying arable land 0.852
0.885 Contingency 3.499

Total 40
1 Introduction to the TGP Resettlement
(4)Financial Sources of the TGP Resettlement

Items Amount Items Amount

(billion) (billion)

Special fund for the TGP 100 Bonds 6

Revenue from the Gezhouba 10 Stocks 10

Hydropower Station

Bank loans 41 Revenue generated by the 75

Three Gorges Project

2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural

• Regulations on the Compensation for Land Acquisition and

Resettlement of the Construction of Large and Medium-sized
Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Projects”(first promulgated
in1991; revised in 2006)
• The Central Government promulgated “Regulations on
Resettlement for the Construction of the Three Gorges Project on
the Yangtze River” ”(first promulgated in1993; revised in 2001)
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(1) Resettlement with Development
Unlike compensation policy based on one-time payment this
“development-oriented resettlement” policy aims to improve the
living standard and long-term production conditions of the displaced
populations. It focuses on developing local resources and opening
channels of production. The policy also considers local conditions
including soil and water conservation, environmental protection and
local economic development programs.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(2) Compensation Principle
Compensation principle was based on the replacement cost of the
lost assets. The TGP adopted higher compensation standards at that
time for compensating the losses of the rural resettlers.
Compensation payment also considered the inflation factor.
A.Compensation for farmland inundation losses was the most
significant part of the compensation. The compensation level was
obtained by multiplying the area of farmland to be inundated by
times the value of the yield/mu; The young crops on the inundated
farmlands and various small trees in resettlers’ yards were also be
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
B.Compensation for rural residential infrastructure is designated for
land acquisition, site levelling, road construction, low
voltage power transmission lines, drinking water supply facilities
etc. in the new rural residential quarters.
C.Compensation for the losses of houses to be inundated comprise
different compensation standards according to the structures of
D.Other compensation includes the moving cost from the original
places to the new places, two years’ living subsidy allocated for
resettlers for a transition period.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(3)Resettlement modes and income restoration means
1)land for land
New land within the Three Gorges Reservoir Area needed to be
acquired by opening wasteland, improving low yielding cultivated
land and redistributing remaining land. The objective was to
guarantee per capita farmland holdings after inundation were higher
or at least equal to that before inundation
2) self-employment
For resettlers who could not acquire same land as before owing to
the shortage of farmland they would be given cash compensation to
reconstruct livelihood through self-employment
3) pensions for the old resettlers
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(4)Up-slope relocation and distant relocation
1)up-slope relocation(nearby relocation)
about 50% rural resettlers were relocated within the counties
and cities affected by the Three Gorges.
2)distant relocation:
Owing to the limited land in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area
another 50% rural resettlers were moved to other provinces
and municipalities outside the Three Gorges Area, mainly along
the lower reaches of Yangtze River which are the beneficial areas
of the TGP.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(5)Assistance and support for post period of resettlement
“The Guidelines for Improving the Assistance Policy for Post-
Period of Resettlement on Large and Middle-Sized Reservoirs”
was promulgated in 2006 and guarantees that each resettler can
receive 600 Yuan per person in cash for 20 years after relocation. In
addition, the local governments would also allocate local financial
resources to invest in enhancing infrastructure and industrial
development, helping to create many new non-farm jobs in the
resettled communities.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(6)Partnership program
The intent of the Partnership Program is to boost economic
development in the Three Gorges Resettlement Areas and create
jobs for resettlers by providing one to one assistance and investment
from eastern and costal provinces and municipalities which have
benefited from the TPG in terms of flooding control and clean
energy supply. This resources allocation mechanism can allocate
necessary resources from the beneficial areas of the TGP to support
and assist the development of the affected areas of the TGP.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(7)Preferential treatments for rural resettlement
1)Setting up industry fund. The Central Government decided to set
up 3 billion RMB industry development fund to boost economic
development and create job opportunity. This fund was collected
by drawing 500 million RMB each year in 6 years from 2004 to
2009 from the Three Gorges Project Construction Fund.
2) The TGRA was given the priority to use the electricity generated
by the TGP, and the inundation counties with water power resource
was given priority to be constructed into preliminary electrified
counties and given assistance.
3)The land used for building new houses by the resettlers was
exempted from the arable land occupation tax.
2 Policy Framework on the TGP Rural
(7)Preferential treatments for rural resettlement
4) The newly established enterprises and newly opened farmland
for the rural resettlement were exempted from agricultural tax and
enterprise income tax or given tax reduction according to the
relevant law.
5) A certain amount of tax revenue paid by TGP after its completion
will be retained to the local governments. This money will be
allocated to Hubei province and Chongqing municipality according
to a certain proportion and be used for assisting the TGRA
development and environment protection.
3 Evaluation of the TGP rural resettlement
More than 400000 rural resettlers were relocated to new places from
1995-2004. Of them about 200000 rural resettlers were moved to
provinces and municipalities outside the Three Gorges through the
distant relocation and more than 200000 rural resettlers were
resettled within the Three Gorges. Based on evaluation reports we
can conclude that as whole the rural resettlement has achieved its
overall objective.
3 Evaluation of the TGP rural resettlement
(1)Average income has been improved
The average income per household has been gradually restored and
improved during the resettlement period. According to the survey
The income improvement of resettlers has been mainly driven by the
diversification of income sources, which was brought about by the
rapid urbanization and industrialization in the TGRA. The
households’ major income source has shifted from the traditional
agricultural work to off-farm jobs, which created more than50- 60%
of the income source. Many young resettlers have moved to cities for
jobs, meanwhile the middle and old aged resettlers have remained in
countryside for traditional agriculture .
Urbanization in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area

Old Town

New Town
Resettlers work in enterprises in Zigui County Town
The orange planting is still the major income source of some
households in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area
3 Evaluation of the TGP rural resettlement
(2)Housing condition has been improved
With proper compensation and savings from increased average
income households are able to build better housing than before.
Plentiful evidence has shown that the average floor area of housing
per household has been increased, meanwhile housing quality has
also been improved. Households used more durable materials such
as cement and bricks to replace less durable materials, such as
earth and straw to build their new houses. The sanitary condition
in the new built houses has been improved remarkably.
Housing improvement
3 Evaluation of the TGP rural resettlement
(3)Infrastructure and public service facilities have
been improved remarkably
The local governments has invested much money in constructing
infrastructure and public services facilities such as roads, water
and electricity supply facilities, schools and hospitals in the Three
Gorges resettlement areas. The money has come from the
resettlement budget and Partnership Program and assistance for the
post period of resettlement as well as the budgeting for the
Working Plan of the Post Construction of the Three Gorges Project
Infrastructure and Public Facilities
4 Experience accumulated
1)Strong resettlement administration system is
organizational guarantee for successful resettlement
In order to provide good organizational basis for the
implementation of resettlement policy in the TGP the Chinese
government has established various levels of resettlement
administration organizations since 1992. The central government has
taken the leadership of the resettlement administration. Under the
central government’s uniform leadership the Hubei Province and
Chongqing municipality are responsible for their own resettlement
work and the counties are the basis of resettlement work.
4 Experience accumulated
2) Enough resources allocation is the economic
foundation of successful resettlement
Major sources of investment
--compensation investment from resettlement budget
-- partnership program
-- assistance for the late period of resettlement
-- working plan for the post construction of the TGP
4 Experience accumulated
3) Diversified resettlement models could give
resettlers more choices
The resettlers had the final judgment to decide which solution was
their good choice. Diversified resettlement models such as nearby
relocation and remote relocation as well as land-for-land and self-
employment could offer more options for different groups of
resettlers. Land-for land mode was suitable for the middle and old
aged resettlers, but young resettlers and skillful resettlers would
like to take off-farm jobs.
4 Experience accumulated
4) Assistance and Benefit-sharing mechanism can
prevent impoverishment risks
Compensation as repayment of the losses suffered by those
displaced is insufficient to protect them from poverty. The resettlers
need long and stable income sources. It becomes obvious that
Assistance and benefit-sharing mechanism is indispensable for
resettlers to share the benefits of the hydropower project.
4 Experience accumulated
5) The resettlement plans need to be adjusted in light
of the changing situation
The early rural resettlement plan in 1990s was to relocate 80% of
the affected rural populations within the Three Gorges Reservoir
Area by opening wastelands. But opening wastelands accelerated
environmental deterioration in the Three Gorges. In response to
these challenges, the government re-examined the rural
resettlement plan and made important changes to stress
environmental protection through a combination of up-slope
relocation and distant resettlement.
5 Challenges facing policy makers
(1)Majority of the rural resettlers have restored and improved their
living standards after relocation but some vulnerable groups have still
faced some livelihood difficulty
(2)The rural transformation brought about by the fast urbanization
and industrialization has made the rural resettlement more
(3)Social adaptation problem caused by distant relocation
(4)High environment pressure in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area
(5)Comparative lower Economic level and escalating employment
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