Sustainable water management in China’s cities
China has not only problems solving their air pollution. Poor water quality is also of serious concern.
Therefore the Minister of Environmental Protection announced a trillion-yuan plan to reduce water pollution in a country where a fifth of the rivers are consider to be toxic, and two fifths of poor or very poor quality.
To reduce chemical oxygen demand and ammonia discharges to water resources, the Ministry ordered two proposed measures:
- Increasing industrial wastewater treatment
- Improving the management of sewage in cities
With water scarcity also a major issue, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Water Resources to improve the evaluation of local governments on their management of water resources and it is currently piloting a project across 45 cities in 28 provinces to improve urban water management.
Australia consultancy GHD is providing concept planning for 17 of these cities, applying the concept of water sensitive urban design, based on analyses of exiting water resources, river systems and ecological conditions. The proposed integrated solutions include structural and non-structural measures, such as improved regulations and management systems. They want to build up five main systems:
- Water resources management
- Water environment protection
- Water ecology assurance and renovation
- Water safety assurance
- Water civilization and water landscape
Depending on the circumstances of each city, there are opportunities to utilise stormwater to reduce environmental degradation, improve the appearance of urban areas and provide space for recreation, GHD says. There are also opportunities to conserve both water and energy. Obviously this is a major step forward for urban water management across the country.
The solutions consist of ten engineering constructions, including flood control and drought relief, drinking water safety, allocation, water saving, waste-water treatment, water environment comprehensive management and water protection. This includes the design of a new water landscape along the Grand Canal: an important transport artery throughout Chinese history.
A Video Surveillance Module provides supervisors with real-time monitoring and historical monitoring images of pumping stations with surveillance cameras installed. The Dredging Management Module is used to collect monthly dredging information and help managers to access the data and to develop a future dredging schedule.
Future of urban water management
This is a major step forward for urban water management across the country. The first three-year step will serve to shape and test solutions for urban water management in China’s cities which can then be applied to others across the country.
- Fresh water resources are relatively scarce, amounting to only 2.5 percent of all water resources.
- Groundwater also plays an important role in water supply
- In some regions, water tables are declining unremittingly
By 2025, 64 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed basins, compared with 38 percent of today. The Ministry expects that the future water market in China will be bright and challenging.
The Ministry of Water Resources builds relationship with governments of other countries and cooperates with DIFD, AusAID, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management of the Netherlands etc. to implement international cooperation projects in integrated water resources management, water demand management, water entitlement and trading, water management reform and capacity building.
This video ‘Water in Cities’, produced by the UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programm, aims to illustrate present and future challenges in urban water management, highlighting water problems facing cities around the world.
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