News Feature | May 6, 2014

China Province To Invest Billions In Water Conservation

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


A northeastern Chinese province has plans to pour money into projects aimed at saving water. 

Heilongjiang province, located near Russia, "is planning to invest 20.9 billion yuan ($3.35 billion) this year on water-conservation projects as the world’s most-populous nation tries to ensure residential and industrial supplies," Bloomberg reported

The country as a whole has become a big spender when it comes to water. 

"Water-conservation investments totaled 439.7 billion yuan in 2013, with 140.8 billion yuan from the central government and the rest from local governments," Bloomberg reported, citing Water Resources Minister Chen Lei.

Population growth and urbanization are exacerbating water scarcity problems in China, Bloomberg reported, citing Chen. "The nation will accelerate planning for medium and large reservoirs, especially in the southwest, and is undertaking a plan to move 44.8 billion cubic meters of water a year from the south to the north," the report said, citing Chen.

Big water investments may mean ratepayers in China could ultimately see their bills go up. 

"China's water prices are still low by international standards and there is room for price increases to encourage consumers to use water more efficiently, the World Bank says in a [new] report on Chinese urbanization," The Australian recently reported

The World Bank report said Chinese ratepayers pay far less than residents of major European cities. “There appears to be room for water tariff adjustments that can better incentivize all water consumers to conserve water and to use it more efficiently in industrial and agricultural production,” the report said, per the Australian

Severe pollution is seen as a key factor in China's battle with water scarcity. As the country invests in desalination, pollution levels are casting a shadow over the process. 

The Guardian reported: "Wang Xiaoshui, the general manager of [a desalination] project, told The Beijing News the plan was feasible and dismissed concerns the water would be undrinkable. The water will be treated to strip it of salt, heavy metals and bacteria and will be drinkable straight from the tap."

Check out Water Online's Desalination Solution Center

Image credit: "Mystery in China," ** Maurice ** © 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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