China has made substantial progress in developing and managing its water resources in the last three decades. Most major rivers are now effectively protected from floods; irrigation development has reduced the impact of droughts; China is the world leader in hydro-power capacity; huge areas have been preliminarily protected from water-induced soil erosion; food self-sufficiency has been achieved; and the coverage of water supply systems has increased.
However, the country’s economic development is critically dependent on solutions to water-related problems. Five strategic issues have been identified as the most significant barriers to China’s economic growth and social development in the future:
- Risks of flooding;
- Water scarcity;
- Water pollution;
- Aquatic ecosystem degradation; and
- Under-improved management of water resources.
The new partnership strategy, jointly prepared by the World Bank and its Chinese partners, has reflected new developments and new situation in the water sector, and committed to the goal of enhancing water security of the nation – sustainable, green growth – based on Integrated Water Resources Management, while taking into consideration the specific conditions for water sector development in China.
The World Bank-China partnership will focus on the following six key strategic issues:
- Flood protection and mitigation;
- Addressing water scarcity;
- Prevention and control of water pollution;
- Protection and restoration of the ecological environment;
- Good governance through improving water resources management; and
- Climate change adaptation.