Water supply and wastewater management is an important part of the economic and social fabric of Jiangsu, China. However, water shortages, water scarcity, and water pollution were constraining inclusive economic growth. In addition, the water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector was marked by a high degree of fragmentation and inefficiency. In July 2007, important fresh water sources even experienced algal blooms due to surface water pollution, which precipitated the emergency shut down of the city’s water supply system. To meet water demands, the city turned to groundwater sources and subsequently over extracted its groundwater aquifer and experienced salt-water intrusion in coastal areas.
Compounding these critical concerns, large cities in Jiangsu lacked wastewater services. Many urban areas and their adjacent rural areas were either completely without sewer systems or with substandard water supply systems. In order to improve the environment and economy, it was important to invest in institutional and financial capacity building activities to improve WSS services.
The Jiangsu Water and Wastewater Project for China included interventions aimed at improving water quality of surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, and canals. In order to enhance the sustainability of the overall water supply system, the project aimed to support the implementation of the Jiangsu Province’s integrated urban and rural water supply plan as well as bolster long-term institutional and financial capacity through investments in municipal water supply expansion. The project was designed with a forward-looking water resources management strategy to concurrently develop the water supply and wastewater service industry. In particular, the project aimed to provide sustainable water supply services to both rural and urban areas through the integration and aggregation of services.
The project was implemented in three municipalities (Nanjiang, Yancheng, and Zhenjiang), two county-level cities (Danyang and Taixing), and seven implementation units (PMUs) in the above municipalities/cities. In order to bolster financial resources for water security and quality, the project included a comprehensive review and revision of water supply and wastewater tariffs for the entire province. Overall, the project focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of water and wastewater services in Jiangsu, alongside reducing pollution discharges to local rivers.
The project (2009-2015) directly benefitted over 4,769,000 people and 78 towns and villages through measures such as institutional interventions and technical assistance. The key impacts of the project include improved effectiveness of water supply and wastewater services, and improved standards of water quality. Through activities such as strengthening and building institutional capacity at the provincial level; expanding wastewater collection; and environmental monitoring, the outputs of this project that have directly contributed to the improvement of WSS services include:
- WSS services were expanded to 84 rural towns with 24-hour service, leading to increase in water sales and hence revenues;
- The coverage of water supply in project towns reached 99.8 percent;
- Non-Revenue Water reduced in the targeted four cities from 27% to 22% on average
- 95% coverage of wastewater service in project cities;
- Pollution discharges to local rivers and Jiangsu were reduced to 60,729 tons per year of COD pollution loads from the municipal wastewater in the project catchment area; and
- The operational performance of the water distribution network was improved through Geographic Information System (GIS) based mapping and monitoring.