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FEATURE STORY

Hai River Basin Project Gives Priority to Ecosystem’s Need for Water

July 29, 2015


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Beijing - A water project in China’s Hai River basin supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) will give priority to the ecosystem’s need for water, said Bank officials attending a recent workshop in Beijing.

Water consumption target for economic and social activities will be obtained after the ecosystem’s minimum need is already secured, they said, adding that this approach is in line with the Chinese Government’s policy of safeguarding the ecological environment.

In technical terms, the ET/EC (evapotranspiration/environment capacity) approach, which was already used in the Integrated Water and Environment Management Project Phase I, will be further developed and extended in the project’s second phase, said Ousmane Dione, Practice Manager of East Asia Program, Water Global Practice of the World Bank.

For example, the amount of water flow in a river has a minimum level that is necessary for keeping the river “alive”, and that level should be maintained, explained Liping Jiang, task team leader for IWEMP Phase II.

Jiang also said that taking environment capacity into account in a water project means water in the ecosystem’s capacity to absorb pollutants will also be given full consideration.

They were speaking at a recent workshop on water scarcity and water pollution issues in China organized by the World Bank with the support of the Ministry of Water Resource and Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Design of IWEMP Phase II was a key topic for the workshop. The project aims to improve the water quality and ecosystem in North China’s Hai River basin through pilots and their extension. In addition, the project will also help ensure a healthy biodiversity in international waters surrounding the Bohai Sea, into which the Hai River basin’s main rivers and tributaries flow. The project area that the Hai River basin covers includes Beijing, Tianjin and the Hebei Province surrounding the two cities.

Speaking at the workshop, Song Xiaozhi, a deputy director-general from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Li Ge, a deputy director-general from the Ministry of Water Resources, both highlighted the Chinese Government’s decision to put in place the “most stringent water resources management system” and the recently issued “Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution”. These measures will promote the environmental sustainability of China’s economic growth, they said.

China has been facing a drought in the last ten years, and the situation of water scarcity has also been worsened by water pollution.

Experts and officials from Australia, Chile and the United States also shared their experiences and suggestions in water resources management at the workshop. Topics covered included regulation of water resources and water pollution, information gathering and organization, and water market framework.

Understanding of International experiences will be key to achieve a success   with integrated water and environmental management within the Hai basin of China, said Dione.

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