With the biggest population in the world, China has very limited
per capita water capability. The increasingly serious water
shortage has exerted adverse effect on economic and social development.
On the other hand, among the annual sewage discharge of over
80 billion cubic meters, only 6 percent or 13.7 million cubic
meters is released into lakes and rivers after some sewage treatment.
Thus wastewater contaminates lakes and rivers, and results in
a further water shortage crisis. To deal with this vicious circle,
Cheng Peijin, vice-minister of science and technology, concurrently
member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,
has proposed to speed up urban sewage reclamation process to
relieve China's water crisis.
In order to counter
water shortage, many countries have begun to reclaim urban
wastewater as secondary water source. More than 80 percent
of urban wastewater is recycled. Compared to what is involved
in exploring a new water source and long distance water-piping,
wastewater reclamation is more practical and economical.
As for China, a
gradual and planned wastewater reclamation effort made according
to China's specific conditions will be a scientific and rational
measure to fully utilize water as well as an important way
to ensure the smooth operation of sewage treatment system
and to eliminate water pollutant.
Up to now, however,
sewage reclamation has not been incorporated into regional
plans for water resource exploration and utilization. A water
resource management and control system covering from water
source exploration, integrated recycling, water treatment
monitoring and control has not taken shape.
In developed countries,
funding for sewage plants is paid by the state and fund for
operating the water treatment plants comes from users. But
in China, a paid water treatment system has not been established
and fund for the construction and operation of sewage plants
is in short supply. Moreover there are not enough facilities
for using purified water, which also constitutes an obstacle
to the sewage reclamation process.
Cheng Jinpei suggests
that local water departments should make sewage reclamation
program part of their urban water resource utilization plans.
Non-traditional water resource exploitation and utilization
such as urban sewage recycling should be greatly encouraged.
1. Overall arrangement
and rational planning
cities, urban sewage treatment programs should be incorporated
into sewage reclamation. A rational sewage treatment facility
layout and sewer network should be arranged according to different
purposes of reutilization of reclaimed water. Sewage treatment
facilities should be closely connected with the recycled water
2. Strengthen management mechanism, improve rules and regulations
A sustainable utilization
of water resource depends on the improvement of management
mechanism and the support of policies and laws.
A complete water
utilization system, including water pumping and discharge
license system, water utilization and environmental auditing
system, water wasting and contamination punishment system,
is necessary to fulfill the goal of "planned utilization,
appropriate extraction, quota supply, water efficiency reward
and water wasting punishment, environment improvement and
pollution controlling". Cheng Jinpei also proposes to
include sewage reclamation ratio into the appraisal system
of comprehensive environment improvement in urban areas.
3. Expand investment
in sewage reclamation, establish a rational water pricing
To raise more funds,
the authorities should encourage and direct funds from different
sources in society and from abroad to the construction and
operation of sewage treatment and re-use facilities.
The current standard
for the fee of sewage treatment should be raised and the fee
collection system should be strengthened. More agricultural
and industrial enterprises should be encouraged to use more
reclaimed water if it meets their standards. Wastewater treatment
funds should be used exclusively to operate and maintain the
sewer network and sewage treatment plants in a bid to establish
an integrated management system for sewage discharge and treatment.
4. Tighten supervision,
rationally reclaim and use treated water
departments should revise, supplement and launch new water
standards for the use of different types of reclaimed water
to guarantee water quality.
and construction departments should closely monitor the water
used in agriculture and industry must be checked frequently
according to relevant water quality standards.