China’s water revolution

Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada

MEGA | April 8, 2020

Some 15 years ago, China tried to improve its water management policies to reduce impacts of devastating floods, extensive pollution and poor water management practices. During the past decade, it has managed its water policies that suits best its governance system. Much of these advances are not known to the West. China has made commendable progress during this period in regulatory oversights and in new ways of managing water, including use of new technologies and management practices. We discuss three aspects only. First is sponge cities that reduces rainwater runoff to rivers by expanding absorptive capacities of urban areas. This includes construction of artificial wetlands for rainwater storage, rooftop gardens, permeable pavements, and raingardens. Goal is 80% of urban areas will absorb and reuse at least 70% of rainwater. Second, is river chiefs systems that was successfully used in cleaning up Lake Tai. This system has been rolled out all over the country. Third is use of robotics and artificial intelligence to improve water management where it is some 10 years ahead of any other country.

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