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Developing Modern Water Conservation Infrastructure

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-09-01

Since the 18th CPC National Congress held in 2012, a host of major strategic water conservation projects have been under construction, thereby strengthening China's capacity to coordinate allocations of water resources, ensure sufficient water supply, and retain strategic reserves. In 2022, China's investment in water conservation reached a historic high of one trillion yuan, and new records (since 1949) have been set in terms of the scale of water conservation infrastructure construction, including the amounts of financial capital and nongovernment capital invested.

On the new journey ahead, while pursuing high-quality development as our overarching task, we must fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy. In an effort to build a strong and modern socialist country, we need to set out our near-, medium-, and long-term plans, take care of strategic prepositioning work, and adopt forward-thinking plans that promote strategic water conservation projects. We need to quickly optimize the layout, structure, functions, and integration of our water conservation infrastructure. We need to build a national water network that is well-equipped, safe, reliable, intensive, efficient, green, intelligent, and orderly and has smooth and unhindered circulation, as well as strengthen support for major national strategies and high-quality socioeconomic development.

We must endeavor to accelerate the construction of the framework and major arteries of the national water network and promote the completion of the revised plans for the South-to-North Water Diversion Project in accordance with new requirements in major national strategies, the new water resource supply and demand dynamic, changes in project functions, and new environmental protection concepts. We also need to understand fully the features of each of the eastern, middle, and western routes of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, push forward the high-quality development of follow-up projects, and refine long-term risk prevention mechanisms to ensure project safety and water supply and quality.

Based on the overall layout of the national water network as well as major national strategies and plans and regional water security requirements, we need to promote the orderly planning and construction of regional water networks, accelerate the construction of major water diversion projects, and protect key water sources. With the focus on increasing China's strength in agriculture and bringing up China's grain production capacity by 50 million tons, we will quickly formulate plans to develop farmland irrigation nationwide, advance the construction of auxiliary facilities and modernization of medium- and large-scale irrigation areas, and consolidate fundamental support for food security and water conservation.

We must improve the water network systems of counties, cities, and provinces and ensure that there are appropriate links between them, accelerate the planning and construction of provincial water networks, and build a network characterized by connectivity and joint regulation and control. We need to develop provincial water network pilot zones and promote the orderly development of county and city water networks. We also need to complete water projects and networks in rural areas tailored to local conditions in order to better guarantee the supply of water.