By the year 2005, China will double the daily capacity of wastewater treatment in cities throughout the country, which will bring more business opportunities to international financial institutions and transnational companies.
Deputy Construction Minister Zheng Yijun made the remark in Beijing on Wednesday at the ongoing 21st Century International Conference and Exhibition on Developing Strategy for Urban Waste Water Treatment and Reuse.
Zheng said China welcomes more foreign capital to invest in the construction and management of wastewater treatment and reuse projects in China.
According to China's tenth five-year plan, in the next five years, wastewater treatment facilities will be built in all Chinese cities, and 45 percent of sewage water in cities will be treated by 2005.
By the year 2005, the daily capacity of wastewater treatment in cities will reach 40 million cubic meters, a great increase on the 14.75 million cubic meters in 2000.
Zheng noted that the Chinese government has carried out proactive fiscal policies since 1998, and decided to invest 200 billion yuan (US$24.16 billion) each year in municipal infrastructure construction.
The government alone cannot meet the cost of constructing and developing municipal wastewater treatment, and more overseas capital will be needed to speed up the commercial process of China 's wastewater treatment, says Zheng.
Currently, in China's Hebei Province alone, overseas investment in the fields of water supply, wastewater treatment and other municipal infrastructure construction has reached 300 million US dollars each year.
Statistics show that the number of cities in China had reached 663 by the end of 2000, and the proportion of the population living in cities will increase from the current 31per cent to 60per cent over the next 20 years.
Wang Guangtao, vice-mayor of Beijing, said in order to make the 2008 Olympic Games a "green sports meeting", the municipal government has decided to begin new urban wastewater treatment and reuse projects. The vice-mayor hopes more advanced techniques and overseas capital be poured into these projects.
The World Bank and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) wish to continue their support of China in urban wastewater treatment and reuse.
Currently the World Bank is financing fifteen projects with significant urban wastewater components, involving an investment of more than US$2 billions.
The UNIDO also plans to invest US$30 billion in China to conserve China's water resources.
By 2000, 427 urban wastewater treatment plants had been built in China, and 300 more are under construction.
(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2001)