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China Seeks Integrated Management of Water Resources
China is seeking ways to integrate water resource departments for the sake of future sustainable development.

Such a system will integrate departments of urban flood-control, water resources, water supplies, running water systems, sewage, drainage, and the treatment and reuse of treated water through legislative channels.

Under the existing system, the management in charge of water resources is divided into different agencies affiliated to different departments, such as water and urban construction, geographic prospecting and environment protection which are responsible for water needs, water supply and drainage respectively.

But "none of the agencies are capable of making an overall regional plan and take all water-related factors into consideration due to the lack of authorities and effective cooperation," said Wu Jisong, director of the water resources department under the Ministry of Water Resources.

Senior water officials believe integrated management is "the best approach to the management of China's water resources."

Jing Zhengshu, vice-minister of water resources, made it clear that China is facing an ever-growing challenge, urging integrated regional management to cope with regional floods, droughts or water shortages and the deterioration of the ecosystem caused by accumulated water pollution due to rapid urbanization and population growth.

Today, such water issues have become a factor restricting the sustainable development of the economy and social progress in China's many cities due to outdated administration.

Jing pledged to back up pilot reform towards such institutional innovations for the management of regional water resources and for the establishment of the water market by adopting rules required by the World Trade Organization.

Integrated management of China's water resources emerges throughout China's urban areas as the times require, Jing said.

To optimize China's existing water resources, Wu said he hopes the resources can be managed through integrating water-related laws, policy, overall plans, regulations on pollution-control and monitoring, water pricing, water-taking permission and water charges.

(China Daily May 22, 2002)

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