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Revised ‘Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law’ Approved

27 June, 2017 – The revised ‘Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law’ has been approved by the National People’s Congress and will go into effect on 1 January, 2018.

Overall, the new version of the law strengthens government responsibility and supervision. Within this, there are four key focus areas to note: the inclusion of the river chief system, drinking water safety protection, agricultural water pollution control and stronger enforcement. More on these below:

  • The river chief system has been included in the new law for the first time. Accordingly, party and government leaders will be responsible for addressing water pollution, including resource protection, waterline management, pollution prevention and control, and ecological restoration. Officials who achieve their goals will be rewarded, while those who fail in their responsibilities will be punished with fines and loss promotion opportunities,
  • In the revised law, to target water pollution from agricultural sources, quality and utilisation standards for fertilisers shall be in accordance with water environmental protection.
  • Drinking water sources and quality is another key area. The new law stipulates that emergency and back-up water resources should be set up in cities with single water sources and governments above the county-level should make public information of drinking water quality at least once a quarter. Drinking water suppliers who fail to meet standards will be fined and operations may be suspended until rectification. And for those who build sewage outlets in protected drinking water source areas will face larger fines.
  • Fines can reach as much as RMB1 million, according to the new law. For severe violations, shut downs and criminal punishment can also be introduced. The revised law also stipulates the liability of enterprises to monitor water pollutants. For enterprises without monitoring equipment or with non-performing monitoring equipment, they can face fines of RMB 200,000.

For more information read the full document here (Chinese only)