$28 bln earmarked to conserve China’s water supplies
China will invest 4 trillion yuan (USD28 billion) in water conservation during the next decade. But, experts say, the effect of the spending will depend on how the money is used, the Global Times reported today.
According to a press conference held by the Ministry of Water Resources on Wednesday, China aims to double its average annual spending on water conservation during the next 10 years, which means the number will reach 400 billion yuan every year.
Some 38 percent of the investment will be spent on flood control and disaster reduction programs. An additional 35 percent will be invested in water-supply projects, 20 percent on the construction of farmland irrigation projects and the rest used for water and soil conservation projects as well as ecological construction, said the ministry's chief planner, Zhou Xuewen.
China aims to harness more than 5,000 rivers over the next five years, reinforce 5,400 reservoirs and speed up the construction of early warning systems for flooding and storm tides.
The country will also work to ensure safe drinking water for residents, renovate key irrigation facilities, prevent and control land soil erosion, and restore the ecosystems of some environmentally-deteriorated regions over the next five years, Jiao Yong, vice minister of water resources, said.
Fan Xiao, geologist with the Sichuan Bureau of Geological Exploration and Exploration of Mineral Resources, told the Global Times that weaknesses exposed in water conservation fields during the flooding and drought disasters in recent years has made the government realize the great need for improvements.
He said that some big water conservation projects have been over-developed and actually do not need investment any more, or it could damage local ecological and geological environments.
"By contrast, projects in the countryside are so weak and many small projects in the countryside are neglected by the government. The government should spend the money where it is most needed as well as make the whereabouts of the investment more transparent," Fan said.