China's South-to-North Water Transfer Project currently services a staggering 110 million people in the nation's northern areas. And, earlier today in a press briefing, the State Council's water diversion office said that the transferred water has been a major source of the capital's tap water supply.
Over 70 percent of Beijing's tap water is channelled from the country's southern regions.
The capital is one of 35 cities to benefit from the South-to-North Water Transfer Project, which is marking its second anniversary since being implemented.
"Previously, the cities of Beijing and Tianjin rarely had such good water. And though grade three water is already drinkable, our water is grade two, with some sections even classified at a grade one level," said E Jingping, director of State Council Water Diversion Office.
But the water doesn't come easy.
435,000 people have been relocated.
3500 polluting companies have also been shut down along routes of the project.
The established routes now run a total of 2899 kilometers, crossing hundreds of rivers, over 50 railways and 1800 roads.
Officials say the costs are justified and necessary.
"The targeted northern part holds one third of the country's population, economic volume and grain output. It's a so-called thirsty area, but its development is essential for the country. The project is a strategic choice," said E Jingping.
The official says that the multi-decade project has relieved the over-drafting of groundwater, but will ultimately be unable to quench the north's thirst. Only until better preservation practices are implemented and wiser usage are in place can this goal be achieved.
The water diversion office says they are confident about the future of this huge cross-valley and long-distance project. The country will continue to build it to be the world's largest water network, covering 15 provinces and 500 million people. They vow to ensure both the amount and quality.