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Impressive Results in River Protection and Management in the New Era

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2024-06-07

Rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water are the lifeblood of our planet, the wellspring of human life, and the cradle of civilization. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has placed great emphasis on the protection and management of rivers, launching a national river strategy. This has paved the way for a new chapter in river protection and management in the new era.

Remarkable improvements to rivers and lakes

The complete implementation of the river and lake chief system has bolstered ecological protection and management in river basins such as those of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Further progress has also been made in the Mother River Restoration Initiative. For the first time in a century, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, which was initially built over 2,000 years ago, has achieved continuous water flow along its entire length. Similarly, the Yongding River, which had run dry for more than two decades, now has year-round, uninterrupted water flow along its entire course.

Better distribution of water resources

We have effectively carried out major inter-basin and inter-regional water diversion projects, epitomized by the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. This has yielded initial progress in creating an overall pattern of water resource distribution featuring north-south coordination and east-west assistance. The water supply capacity of national water conservancy projects increased from 700 billion cubic meters in 2012 to almost 900 billion cubic meters in 2022.

Systematic transformation in the utilization of water resources

We have vigorously pursued the National Water Conservation Campaign and tightened mandatory limits on the use of water resources. As a result, between 2013 and 2022, even as China's GDP surged from nearly 60 trillion yuan to over 120 trillion yuan, total national water consumption remained within 610 billion cubic meters. Within this period, water consumption per 1,000 yuan of GDP dropped by 42.8%, while water consumption per 1,000 yuan of industrial added value fell by 58.2%.

Visible progress in flood and drought control

We have overcome a series of severe and rare flooding and drought events along major rivers, such as the Yellow, Pearl, and Yangtze, effectively safeguarding people's lives and property. During the main flood season of 2023, we achieved an important victory in responding to the most widespread flooding in the Haihe River basin since 1963. During the flooding, not a single reservoir failed, all important levees remained intact, and nearly a million people were evacuated from flood detention and retention basins, without the loss of a single life.

Editor: Zhang Xian