China’s most famous “dam immigrants” are surely the 1.4 million people displaced by the Three Gorges Dam, completed in 2006. This report, however, will tell the stories of less well-know dam immigrants in the Dongjiang river basin of Guangdong province.
The area has a relative abundance of water resources, and local authorities generate substantial income by selling water to large cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Hong Kong. These water transfers are necessary to sustain the region’s large industrial centres, but as this report outlines, reservoirs in the Dongjiang basin have been expanded three times since 1974, and as a result many villages have been displaced by reservoir expansions and efforts to protect water supplies from human pollution. Water is being transferred to industrial cities where it can generate the greatest profit, at the expense of people displaced from the reservoir area.
This report documenting those dam immigrants’ daily life in two resettlement sites in Guangdong’s Dongjiang basin: Researchers carried out interviews with residents of both sites, and documented how their quality of life and access to water have been negatively affected by resettlement.