REGULATIONS > The Ministerial System

Ministerial System Description
Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) In addition to flood control and drought relief, MWR is responsible for the development and utilisation of water resources, including resource protection, conservation, infrastructure development /maintenance and the development and execution of water related projects. With some crossover with the Ministry of Agriculture, it is also charged with providing guidance on irrigation, & drainage and rural water supply. 


Ministry of
(formerly SEPA)
MEP was created in 2008 as part of the Government’s institutional restructuring. Its mission is to: [p]revent and control environmental pollution, protect nature and ecology, supervise nuclear safety, safeguard public health and environmental safety, and promote the harmony between man and nature. The Ministry replaces the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) and is regarded as strengthening the environmental protection sector’s administrative stability, political will, decision making power, access to resources, as well as having more weight and influence on the country’s social and economic affairs.1 

The structure and organisation of MEP, illustrating the departments and agencies under its auspices can be viewed here.


Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Relevant to water, MOA is mandated to guide the exploitation of agricultural land, fishery waters, grasslands, shoals and swamps suitable for agricultural purposes. It has responsibilities as regards irrigation and the use of water for agricultural purposes. 


Ministry of Housing
and Urban-Rural
(MHRUD) (formerly Ministry of Construction)
MHRUD manages funds and oversees construction projects, which include urban planning and infrastructure development, improvements in water supply and wastewater treatment facilities. It also oversees the use of underground urban water. 


Ministry of Land
and Resources
MLR is responsible for the planning, administration, protection and rational utilisation of natural resources. It supervises the monitoring / prevention of groundwater contamination as well as over extraction. 


Ministry of Health (MOH) MOH’s overarching responsibility is for health services including disease monitoring and control. The Ministry works with other ministries in the establishment of water quality standards. 


Ministry of Transport
Created in 2008, the Ministry is responsible for water pollution control within the transportation sector. 


State Forest
The SFA is responsible for the management of state forest resources, including organising and providing guidance for controlling water and soil erosion. 


Ministry of Finance
The Ministry of Finance influences water policy through administration of the state’s budget and the drafting of financial and tax policy. 


1 A detailed overview of the implications of MEP’s creation is covered in Xin, Qiu and Li, Honglin, “China’s Environmental Super Ministry Reform: Background, Challenges, and the Future,” Environmental Law Institute, Washington, 2009.