About a third of the treatment facilities on the eastern line of the mainland's massive South-North Water Diversion Project have been delayed, the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa) says. The facilities were scheduled to be completed by the end of last year as part of the nation's 15th five-year environmental cleanup plan, but Sepa found that ground had not even been broken on 77 of the 260 plants. The South-North Water Diversion Project will bring 8.9 billion cubic metres of water from the Yangtze River to drought-stricken Tianjin city and northern Shandong province every year. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by 2007. If the treatment facilities are not operating by the time the water-transfer project is completed, the whole line could become a massive sewer. The Yangtze River is one of the nation's most polluted waterways, with an estimated 25.6 billion tonnes of waste dumped along its 2,163km every year. Only 10 per cent of the polluted water is treated. In addition to the South-North Water Diversion Project, Sepa said work had not started on 141 of the 488 planned cleanup schemes along the eastern Huai River, while the figure for the Three Gorges Dam project was 68 out of 338. For the northern Liao River, work had not started on 62 of 221 planned treatment facilities. The rate for the Hai River that flows from Tianjin was 152 of 496. To prevent an ecological disaster, Sepa urged all relevant government bureaus to step up their efforts and complete the construction of the water treatment facilities as scheduled. The agency warned that those which failed to do so would be exposed to the media.