REGULATIONS > Water Policy Initiatives

China Water Conservation Technology Policy Outline

In 2005, NDRC published its China Water Conservation Technology Policy Outline to:

  • provide guidance on the development and application of water conservation technology;
  • accelerate the progress of water conservation technology;
  • enhance the efficiency of water use and its benefits; and
  • promote the sustainable utilisation of water resources.

The Outline mainly focuses on the popularisation of water conservation technology, techniques and equipment before 2010, and gives relative considerations to medium and long-term water conservation technology. It can be accessed via the government website:

Financing Change: building sustainability in China’s financial sector

Interesting trends are emerging in China’s finance sector regarding corporate access to capital, notably China’s 2007 Green Credit Policy and 2008 Green Securities Policy. At the same time, insurance companies are beginning to provide products to insure companies against environmental pollution claims. A review of these and other trends in the PRC’s banking sector is provided in The Green Evolution – Environmental Policies and Practice in China’s Banking Sector, released by Friends of the Earth in November 2008.

Action Plan on Environment and Health 2007

In November 2007, China issued an Action Plan on Environment and Health (2007-2015). The Plan, the first of its kind in its field, is expected to guide environmental and health work in a scientific way. Under the plan, the government will enact and improve rules and regulations regarding environment and health, control environmental hazards and reduce environmentally related diseases to safeguard public health. The main tenets of the plan are as follows:

  • Setting up a standard system for environment and health-related laws and regulations such that improved laws, regulations and a standardised system will provide sound legal backing for government supervision and standardisation of social activities.
  • Build a supervision network on environment and health specifically relevant to water including:
    • Establishing a monitoring network of drinking water safety and health
    • Considering the tasks and monitoring contents of the national drinking water safety scheme
    • Setting up a pollution index for water sources that can be monitored
    • Creating an irrigation water quality index and drinking water quality index
    • Monitoring water-borne diseases and other information related to health
    • Drawing up a state monitoring scheme with reasonably distributed monitoring stations
  • Strengthen the risk warning systems concerning environment and health and the emergency disposal work systems
  • Set up a state environment and health information sharing and service system
  • Improve technological support for environment and health
  • Strengthen publicity and the exchange of environmental and health knowledge
  • Setup national environment and health organisations

International-China Water Policy Initiatives

U.S. EPA – Clean Water Action Plan – In 2008, under the framework of the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), China and the US agreed upon an Action Plan for water (2008-2018) in accordance with the two countries’ Ten Year Framework Cooperation on Energy and the Environment. Details of the plan can be viewed here. In summary, it aims to assist in the development of:

  • Supporting policies and technologies for implementing China’s strategy of “rest and recuperation” (China developed a strategy for water pollution prevention and treatment that calls for a period of “rest and recuperation” for the rivers, lakes and seas. The strategy has brought about large-scale environmental treatment programs in river basins and regions)
  • Policy proposals and legislative suggestions for drinking water safety;
  • Technical standards and guide for river basin and source water protection in China; and
  • A model project for river basin and source water protection in China.

World Bank Analytical and Advisory Assistance – Following a request from the PRC Government, in 2005 the World Bank launched an analytical and advisory assistance (AAA) programme to address China’s water shortages. The objective of the AAA programme is to assist China’s Government to develop, adopt, and implement an integrated set of policy and institutional reforms needed to address China’s water scarcity and build a water conservation society.

The AAA programme concentrates on helping the responsible agencies design and implement the policy and institutional reforms needed to improve the management of water resources, taking both quantitative and qualitative issues into account.

For details of the AAA programme refer to the dedicated World Bank website.

The EU-China River Basin Management Programme – The EU has invested €25 million in the EU-China River Basin Management Programme. Undertaken in the Yangtze River and the Yellow River basins, this was launched in January 2007 and will run for five years. The objective is to establish integrated and environmentally sustainable river basin management.

In addition to these two components, the EU-China River Basin Management Programme will establish an EU-China policy and dialogue platform for river basin and water resource management. This dialogue platform will be linked to the work on the ground in the two river basins. Lessons learned when drafting and implementing the EU Water Framework Directive may be relevant to China. The European Commission is providing Technical Assistance to facilitate training on river basin planning, exchange visits and internships, hold conferences, workshops and forums, and conduct research, studies and surveys.