Wa­ter qual­ity to be pri­or­i­tized

Bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing re­quires fund­ing, plus tech­no­log­i­cal and le­gal sup­port

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A draft amend­ment to the Wa­ter Pol­lu­tion Preven­tion Law, sub­mit­ted to the coun­try’s top leg­isla­tive body for first read­ing on Mon­day, calls for more re­stric­tions on ma­jor sources of un­der­ground wa­ter pol­lu­tion, such as chem­i­cal plants, in­dus­trial zones, min­ing re­gions and waste burial sites.

Such sources of pol­lu­tion should take ex­tra mea­sures to pre­vent leak­age that con­tam­i­nates un­der­ground wa­ter, the draft states.

Con­trol of un­der­ground wa­ter pol­lu­tion has re­ceived grow­ing at­ten­tion from govern­ments and the pub­lic con­cerned about the safety of drink­ing wa­ter.

Among the 5,118 sub­ter­ranean mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions across 202 cities na­tion­wide, 18.8 per­cent re­ported wa­ter qual­ity in the bot­tom tier of the five-tier na­tional wa­ter qual­ity sys­tem last year, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual bul­letin on en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity from the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

It will be low­ered to 15 per­cent by 2020 and the au­thor­i­ties will im­prove mon­i­tor­ing, with broader cov­er­age and bet­ter tech­nol­ogy, it said.

Tight­ened con­trol of un­der­ground wa­ter is nec­es­sary and re­quires greater sup­port of tech­nol­ogy, fund­ing, and laws and reg­u­la­tions, said Xi Bei­dou, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Re­search Academy of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences.

Xi led a team of ex­perts in con­duct­ing sur­veys on un­der­ground wa­ter pol­lu­tion and pro­vided sug­ges­tions for govern­ments.

In ad­di­tion, the draft amend­ment stip­u­lates that govern­ments should shoul­der larger re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and re­port plans for wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment to higher lev­els of govern­ments, as well as mak­ing such plans pub­lic, to re­ceive wider su­per­vi­sion.

The draft im­proves the pro­tec­tion of drink­ing wa­ter, stat­ing that emer­gency re­sponses and backup wa­ter sources should be built in cities with sin­gle wa­ter sources, and the qual­ity of drink­ing wa­ter should be heav­ily mon­i­tored, with rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion made pub­lic.

Wa­ter pol­lu­tion preven­tion in key fields, in­clud­ing in­dus­trial sewage, agri­cul­ture and ru­ral ar­eas, as well as pol­lu­tion from ships, should be tight­ened, ac­cord­ing to the draft.

High­lights of other drafts


The cur­rent Wa­ter Pol­lu­tion Preven­tion Law was en­acted in 1984, and amended in 1996 and 2008, and has played an im­por­tant role in curb­ing wa­ter pol­lu­tion, said Chen Jin­ing, min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, at the open­ing meet­ing of the bi­monthly ses­sion of the top leg­is­la­ture.

Dur­ing the 12 th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), China’s chem­i­cal oxy­gen de­mand, a mea­sure of or­ganic pol­lu­tants in wa­ter, dropped by 12.9 per­cent, while emis­sions of am­mo­ni­a­cal ni­tro­gen shrank 13 per­cent, ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.

In ad­di­tion, in the first nine months, among the 1,922 mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions for sur­face wa­ter qual­ity na­tion­wide, 72.3 per­cent of mon­i­tored sec­tions were in the top three lev­els, mean­ing that the wa­ter could be used for drink­ing, ir­ri­ga­tion or in­dus­trial use, the min­istry said.

Only 8.6 per­cent were in the “se­verely pol­luted” level, mean­ing that the wa­ter could not be used for any pur­pose, it added.

How­ever, Chen said on Mon­day that China still has se­vere prob­lems with wa­ter pol­lu­tion.

The draft was made to en­sure bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion of a wa­ter pol­lu­tion preven­tion plan is­sued by the State Coun­cil in April last year, the min­is­ter said.

of the 5,118 sub­ter­ranean mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions na­tion­wide re­ported wa­ter qual­ity in the bot­tom tier of the five-tier na­tional wa­ter qual­ity sys­tem last year. of the 1,922 mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions for sur­face wa­ter qual­ity na­tion­wide were in the top three lev­els in the first nine months of the year.

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