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SCIO press conference on water management and national water security

China.org.cn | September 25, 2023


Nanfang Daily:

The report to the 20th CPC National Congress made the deployment to optimize the layout, structure, functions, and system integration of infrastructure with the aim of constructing a modern infrastructure system. In line with this deployment, how is the water conservancy infrastructure being developed? Could you shed light on the progress made to date and the considerations for the next steps? Thank you.

Zhang Xiangwei:

Thank you for your question. Water conservancy is a vital component of the modern infrastructure system. The MWR adheres to a systematic planning approach, considering the short-term, medium-term, and long-term perspectives. We have accelerated efforts to optimize the layout, structure, functions, and system integration of water conservancy infrastructure, striking a balance between existing infrastructure and new developments to enhance network efficiency.

In terms of the layout, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the Outline of National Water Network Construction Plan, making top-level designs and strategic deployments on the national water network based on overall and spatially balanced allocations of water resources in drainage basins. Following the requirements of the guideline, the MWR has done the following work alongside related departments and local governments. First, we have actively promoted the revision of the master plan for the South-to-North Water Diversion Project and expedited the improvement of the core framework and vital arteries of the national water network. Second, we have initiated the planning for regional water networks and aim to complete the formulation and approval of provincial-level water network plans this year. We will design a sound layout for water networks at the provincial, municipal, and county levels and establish a holistic national water network step by step. Third, we have begun to revise the flood-prevention plans for the drainage basins of China's seven major river basins, aiming to foster a new landscape in drainage basin flood prevention and disaster mitigation.

In terms of the structure, we have optimized the water network structure with a focus on building connections, improving the network, and strengthening links based on the three elements of "backbones, links, and knots." First, we have strived to build the backbones of the national water network. On the basis of the main streams of large rivers as well as major rivers and lakes, we have accelerated the planning and construction of a number of major water diversion projects represented by the eastern, central, and western routes of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. We have also worked to make sure the dykes along the main streams of large rivers meet standards. Second, we have worked to expand the links of the national water network. We have proactively advanced the construction of a number of key water network projects at the provincial level, including the second phase of the central Yunnan water diversion project, the water conservancy project that diverts the Dadu River into the Minjiang River in Sichuan, and the water resource allocation project in diverting water from the Yellow River to Xining in Qinghai. Through these projects, we aim to realize the interconnectivity of critical water resource allocation projects at the national, regional, and provincial levels, improve the water networks across the provincial, municipal, and county levels, and develop a water network system featuring integration and interconnectivity between urban and rural areas. Third, we have made efforts to fasten the knots woven into the national water network. We have moved faster to implement a group of water conservancy and key water source projects, such as the Guxian water control project and Heishan Gorge water conservancy project along the Yellow River, the Yangxi water conservancy project in Guangxi, and the Huatanzi reservoir project in Guizhou, as well as sped up the building of key floods storage areas. 

In terms of the function, after taking into consideration multiple functions, including flood prevention, water supply, irrigation, shipping, power generation, and ecological conservation, we have strengthened the joint management of water projects in drainage basins to better regulate water resources. We have leveraged the functions of the projects in a holistic manner to systematically address the issues concerning water resources, ecosystem, environment, and disasters so as to secure economic, social, ecological, and safety benefits simultaneously.

In terms of system integration, we have synchronized the building of digital twin basins, digital twin water networks, and digital twin water projects, enhanced the forecasting, early warning, preview, and contingency plan functions of water network regulation and operation management so as to render the construction, operation, and regulation of water networks more digitalized, internet-based, and intelligent.

Going forward, we will vigorously implement key national water network projects, improve flood prevention projects in drainage basins, and restore the ecological environment of rivers and lakes at a faster pace. We will also promote the digital twin water projects. We will introduce and upgrade water-saving systems and policies, strengthen the management of water conservancy systems and mechanisms under the rule of law, and promote the high-quality development of water resources in the new development stage so as to ensure water security for advancing a Chinese path to modernization. Thank you.

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