To regulate and control the water volume of the Yellow River, the second longest waterway in the country, China Tuesday started to implement an ordinance.
This is China's first law on water volume control of the long rivers, said Li Guoying, head of the Yellow River Conservancy Committee under the Ministry of Water Resources.
At a press conference of the Information Office of the State Council, Li said the regulation was designed to strengthen management of the water resources of the Yellow River, realize sustainable utilization, improve the ecological environment along the waterway and promote the economic and social development of valley areas of the river.
The ordinance stipulates that the water volume of the Yellow River will be under the unified control of the state. It also has specific stipulations on the water allocation, regulation and control, emergency management, supervision and legal responsibilities.
The Yellow River, popularly known as China's Mother River, is the major water resource for the northwest and north China. It plays a vital role as it provides water for 12 percent of China's 1.3 billion people, 15 percent of China's farmland and more than 50 large and medium-sized cities.
However, the water level of the river changes remarkably in different years and suffers a great imbalance in flow in different seasons and regions.
The Yellow River carries more silt than any other river in the world. It's well known as a river of disasters as floods have taken the lives of many people over the past 2,000 years.
The water volume in the river has been falling in recent years due to climate changes and degradation of the environment. Some parts of the river were actually dry on 21 occasions between 1971 and 1999.
Water from the source of the Yellow River has dropped by 23 percent in the past ten years, officials said.
Li said China had taken measures to protect water sources and control the total volume used by cities along the Yellow River which had prevented it from drying up over the past seven years.
These successful experiences were a solid foundation for the implementation of the ordinance, Li added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2006)