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Water Pollution Prevention and Control : Successful Cases in China

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The Taihu Lake has the multifunction of floodwater storage, irrigation, navigation, water supply, aquaculture, and tourism. It is the main drinking water source for areas such as Wuxi and Suzhou. The Taihu Lake basin has an area of 36500 km2, located in three provinces and one city. The percentage in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui provinces and Shanghai is 52%, 33.4%, 13.5% and 0.1% respectively. The water area in the lake basin accounts for 17.5% of the entire lake area. The urbanization level of the lake basin ranks the first in the entire country. With the development of industry and agriculture and improvement of people’s life in recent several decades, the water pollution of the water in Taihu Lake is worsening. The eutrophication of the lake water has become an environmental issue attracting broad attention in the world.
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Water Pollution Prevention and Control:
Successful Cases in China






Submitted by
State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China
Nairobi, Kenya
21-25 February, 2005

Case One: Water Pollution Control in Taihu Lake Basin

The Taihu Lake has the multifunction of floodwater storage, irrigation, navigation,
water supply, aquaculture, and tourism. It is the main drinking water source for areas
such as Wuxi and Suzhou. The Taihu Lake basin has an area of 36500 km2, located in
three provinces and one city. The percentage in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui provinces
and Shanghai is 52%, 33.4%, 13.5% and 0.1% respectively. The water area in the lake
basin accounts for 17.5% of the entire lake area. The urbanization level of the lake
basin ranks the first in the entire country. With the development of industry and
agriculture and improvement of people’s life in recent several decades, the water
pollution of the water in Taihu Lake is worsening. The eutrophication of the lake
water has become an environmental issue attracting broad attention in the world.

In order to protect the water environment of Taihu Lake, the central government takes
the water pollution prevention in Taihu Lake as a top prioritized work in the 9th and
10th Five Year Plans. In the 9th Five Year Plan period, the central government and the
local authorities made an investment of 10 billion yuan for the treatment of Taihu
Lake. The State Council approved the 9th Five Year Plan and 2010 Program of Water
Pollution Prevention in Taihu Lake, and the 10th Five Year Plan of Water Pollution
Prevention in Taihu Lake. In 2001, the State Council approved the 10th Five Year Plan
of Water Pollution Prevention in Taihu Lake (hereinafter referred to as the Plan). The
major targets for water quality improvement set for the year of 2003 had been
achieved, and over half of either the investment, pollution treatment engineering
projects or pollutant reduction identified by the Plan have been achieved. 41.7% of
the centralized water source areas in the lake basin, 57.1% of the cross-sections in and
out of the lake and 28% of the sections in border areas have attained the water quality
target identified in the Plan for 2005. The investment of pollution treatment in Taihu
Lake is 13.22 billion Yuan, accounting for 60.2% of the total investment of the Plan.
Of the 255 projects in the Plan, 136 of them have been completed, accounting for
53.65%. The average reduction of the total discharge of the major pollutants in the
lake basin is 50.7%.

41.7% of the centralized water source areas in the lake basin, 57.1% of the
cross-sections in and out of the lake and 28% of the sections in the border areas have
attained the water quality target identified in the Plan for 2005. The investment of
pollution treatment in Taihu Lake is 13.22 billion Yuan, accounting for 60.2% of the
total investment of the Plan. Of the 255 projects in the P lan, 136 of them have been
completed, accounting for 53.65%. The average reduction of the total discharge of the
major pollutants in the lake basin is 50.7%.

Although significant achievements have been made in the water pollution prevention
in Taihu Lake basin, the water pollution situation in the lake basin remains rather
tough, with certain gap to some sub-targets and arduous tasks as follows: the nitrogen

pollutant indicator remains fairly high, not easy to reduce and hard to fulfill the task in
the Plan. There is sometimes eutrophication in certain water areas. The cause of the
eutrophication in the lake and effective control measures, as well as attainment
management of the water quality in border areas remain the outstanding issues to be
solved in the water pollution prevention in China.

The main experiences of water pollution prevention in Taihu Lake basin is
summarized as follows:

1. To make use of the opportunity of setting up national model cities of
environmental protection and integrate water pollution prevention into the overall
program of model cities;
2. To focus on innovative concepts, mechanism and explore new paths of the
treatment of the lake basin. In order to fit in with the demand of the market
economic development in China, Jiangsu Province took the lead in putting forth
the concept of “manage the environment with commercial mechanism”, taking the
comprehensive treatment of the water environment in Wuli Lake as the important
component of the urban development of Wuxi. It is expected the added-value of
the urban benefit from environmental improvement will be 5 billion Yuan (much
higher than the cost of 2.6 billion Yuan for the treatment). The private funds are
encouraged to enter into the sector of municipal service facilities. Market
mechanism is applied in setting up share-holding company of sewage treatment,
various forms of construction and operation such as BOT and TOT have been
adopted. Preferential and incentive policies have been formulated. A new path of
multi-channel investment suitable to socialization and marketization has been
blazed.
3. To enhance the management of water quality in sensitive bordering areas. The
local gover nments in the Taihu Lake basin have set up and improved the working
mechanism of water quality target-fulfillment assessment, information release of
the water quality at borders, joint efforts of pollution prevention in upper and
lower reaches and pollutio n warning. The tasks of the Plan are split and allocated
by stages to the local governments and departments, with the stipulation that the
governments at various levels should be responsible for the water quality in the
area. The monthly information release of the information of the water quality in
border areas is carried out on full scale. The people’s governments of Jiaxing and
Suzhou have also set up the mechanisms of joint meeting on pollution prevention
and early-warning of pollution.
Since the 9th Five Year Plan, the achievements of water pollution prevention in Taihu
Lake basin indicate that the water pollution prevention in lake basin is an arduous
long-term work; the treatment of lake basin should be combined with win-win
solution of economic growth and environmental improvement, with the establishment
of national model cities of environmental protection, ecological provinces and

ecological demonstration zones, with the promotion of market mechanism, and with
the system building and supervision improvement. The scientific development
approach and correct assessment of governmental achievement should be promoted so
that the economic growth quality will be improved, and the comprehensive,
coordinated and sustainable development of the regional economy, society and
environment will be promoted. The mechanism should be set up with the government
taking the leadership, relevant departments taking the responsibilities, environmental
departments carrying out supervision and management, enterprises conductin g
treatment, and the public supervising and participating so that the pollution treatment
effects will last for long term. The industrial restructuring and cleaner production
should be promoted, and a new industrialization path should be taken. The
eco-agr iculture should be promoted. The demonstration sites of non-source
agriculture and poultry and animal breeding should be established and improved so
that the non-point agriculture source pollution will follow an ecological and
market-oriented path that tur ns the wastes into resources. The pollution treatment
should be carried out in a scientific way. The environmental industry and advanced
water pollution prevention technologies should be promoted. With these measures
taken, the water pollution prevention will be successful.
Case Two: Water Environmental Protection in Dianchi Lake
The Dianchi Lake is located in Yunnan Province, with an area of 300 km2 and an
average depth of 4.4 m. It is the largest lake in southwest China. Dianchi Lake basin
includes Wuhua and Panlong districts of Kunming and 41 towns and villages of
Guandu, xishan, Jinning, Chenggong and Songming counties. It is referred to as the
Pearl of the Plateau. However, by 1999, the water quality in the lake had seriously
degraded, with the water quality in Cao Hai and Wai Hai worse than Grade V.
In accordance with the water environmental situation in China, Dianchi Lake water
pollution treatment was identified as one of the important treatment projects of “Three
Rivers and Three Lakes Programme”. In 1997, the State Council approved the 9th Five
Year Plan and 2010 Program of Water Pollution Prevention in Dianchi Lake Basin
(hereinafter referred to as the Program). According to the requirements of the
Programme, twelve projects of pollution treatment concerning point sources, internal
sources, non-point sources, and scientific researches have been finalized, with an
investment of 2.53 billion Yuan. After the comprehensive treatment in the 9th Five
Year Plan period, the industrial pollution sources in the lake basin are under effective
control. The capacity of urban sewage is 365,000 tons/day, and the amount of polluted
sludge cleaned-up is 4.3 million tons. The forest coverage in the lake basin is 48.9%.
On March 12, 2003, the State Council approved the 10th Five-year Plan of Water
Pollution Prevention in Dianchi Lake (hereinafter referred to as the Plan) which
further clarifies the measures and tasks of “Pollution Control, Ecological
Rehanbilitation, Resources Allocation, Supervision Management and Science and
Technology Demonstration”.

In the past three years since the implementation of the 10th Five Year Plan, fifteen
projects in the Plan have been carried out, accounting for 57.7%, with an investment
of 1.07 billion Yuan. The capacity of urban sewage treatment is 585,000 tons/day. The
polluted sludge cleaned-up in Cao Hai is 2.1 million m3. The treatment of river
courses entering into the lake such as Panlong River, Daguan River and Cailian River,
as well as the engineering project of two landfill sites in east and west Kunming have
been completed. An area of 3.3 km 2 of ponds has been turned back to lake. Balanced
fertilizing has been promoted in 559000 mu of lands, with a reduction of over 6000
tons of chemical fertilizer. Afforestation of 170000 mu has been completed. The land
retirement and reafforestation area is 10300 mu. Mountains of 67000 mu have been
fenced off for forest cultivation. The forest coverage in Dianchi Lake basin is 50.6%.
Achievements have been made in the pollution prevention in Dia nchi Lake. The
transparency of the water in Caohai and Waihai of Dianchi has increased. The nutrient
state index of Caohai reduced from 83.2 in 2000 to 76.2.The nutrient state in Waihai
has reduced from 66.4 in 2000 to 62.4. Compared with the situation in 2002, the total
nitrogen concentration of the water quality in Waihai, Dianchi Lake remained stable
in 2003, the concentration of total phosphor reduced by 44.1%, and the
hypermanganate index reduced by 19.2%. The overall water quality was better than
that in 2000 and 2001, and remained the same as that in 2002. The concentration of
total nitrogen and total phosphor remained same. The hypermanganate index reduced
by 43.25. Compared with 2000-2002, the overall water quality situation was improved.
The monitoring results indicate that in the context of economic growth, population
increase and more pollution load in the Dianchi Lake basin, the trend of rapid water
pollution degradation is under control, with the overall water quality remaining stable
and key pollutants remaining stable and reducing.
However, the treatment task of Dianchi Lake remains arduous. The main indicator of
the water in Dianchi Lake is at or over standards of Grade V water. It is still a lake
with serious pollution. With the further development of Kunming, the economy keeps
growing rapidly, the city keeps expanding and the population keeps increasing, which
has brought about lots of new problems for the treatment and protection of Dianchi
Lake. The marketized mechanism of pollution treatment facilities has not yet come
into being, which has influenced the fund-raising via multi-channels and the role of
the completed facilities.
Since the 9th Five-year Plan period, fruitful experiences have been obtained in the
water pollution prevention of Dianchi Lake. We have come to recognize that the
treatment of Dianchi Lake is a long-term task. Only with unremitting efforts, shall we
be able to make fundamental changes. At present, China is formulating the 11th Five
Year Plan. Based on the experiences and lessons in the 10th Five Year Plan period, we
will continue to focus on the pollution prevention and total pollutants discharge
reduction, devote great efforts to reducing the urban pollution sources and non-point
agriculture pollution, actively carry out the control of internal sources, ecological
remedy and resources allocation so as to further reduce the pollutants entering into the

Lake and control the total pollutant discharge. By 2010, it is expected that the water
quality in Caohai and Waihai will be improved significantly, laying the foundation for
the target that by 2030, the water quality of Caohai basically attains Grade IV, that of
Waihai basically meets Grade III so that the overall target of water protection and
benign ecological cycle in D ianchi Lake could be attained.

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