Ward­ing off dan­ger of flood

Mea­sures fo­cus on boost­ing water con­ser­vancy to pro­tect ecol­ogy, peo­ple’s liveli­hoods in vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - POLICY REVIEW - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will ac­cel­er­ate ef­forts to re­pair flood-dam­aged water con­ser­vancy projects and help cities fight flooding in steps that will also boost in­vest­ment and cre­ate more em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The de­ci­sion, made at a State Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing presided over by Premier Li Ke­qiang on Wed­nes­day, tar­gets im­prov­ing the coun­try’s ecol­ogy and peo­ple’s liveli­hoods in ar­eas vul­ner­a­ble to flooding, es­pe­cially along the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yel­low rivers, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing.

The state­ment also said em­bank­ments along the Yangtze River dam­aged dur­ing this year’s flood sea­son will be ren­o­vated promptly, well ahead of next year’s flood sea­son, which usu­ally starts in June and lasts un­til Au­gust. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment also called for bet­ter man­age­ment of smaller rivers and reser­voirs, which ex­perts cite as a vi­tal mea­sure for flood con­trol of ma­jor rivers.

The meet­ing also called on gov­ern­ments at all lev­els to build a more ef­fec­tive un­der­ground drainage sys­tem and pipe­line cor­ri­dors that can tackle prob­lems cre­ated by flooding within city bound­aries.

In ad­di­tion, the meet­ing de­cided to boost pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship ini­tia­tives to en­cour­age pri­vate busi­nesses to par­tic­i­pate in the projects and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment will grant fa­vor­able fund­ing poli­cies. Of­fi­cials in charge of the projects will be ac­count­able and traced should the need to im­pose penal­ties arise in case of dam­age or li­a­bil­ity re­sult­ing from in­ad­e­quate su­per­vi­sion or projects un­der- taken not meet­ing cer­tain stan­dards.

The meet­ing was the lat­est move by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment as the premier and State Coun­cil have pri­or­i­tized flood­con­trol mea­sures and water con­ser­vancy, par­tic­u­larly for prov­inces prone to such oc­cur­rences, such as Hu­nan, Hubei and An­hui. The coun­try has en­deav­ored to con­trol floods along ma­jor rivers, with most of the fo­cus on water con­ser­vancy and flood con­trol projects along the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yel­low rivers.

This year saw un­prece­dented flooding across the coun­try, the worst in 18 years, which led to bil­lions of yuan in di­rect eco­nomic losses and the loss of life.

Mean­while, ur­ban drainage sys­tems have lagged far be­hind the rapid growth of ur­ban ar­eas. The del­uge in Bei­jing four years ago saw the city’s drainage sys­tem over­whelmed.

In early July, the premier vis­ited flood-hit cities in Hubei, An­hui and Hu­nan prov­inces to check flood con­trol and dis­as­ter-pre­ven­tion fa­cil­i­ties, stress­ing the im­por­tance of such fa­cil­i­ties in pre­vent­ing ex­ces­sive flooding and urg­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments to con­tinue keep­ing a close eye on both small- and large-scale fa­cil­i­ties.

In late July, the premier chaired a tele­con­fer­ence on flood-con­trol mea­sures in Bei­jing and again urged lo­cal gov­ern­ments to pre­vent po­ten­tial dan­ger and dam­age to prop­er­ties and en­sure peo­ple’s safety.

One month later, the premier called on work­ers to build a fa­cil­ity that has the abil­ity to tackle the worst flood in a cen­tury when he vis­ited Nan­chang, cap­i­tal of Jiangxi prov­ince, an area that has China’s largest fresh-water lake -Poyang Lake.

Li’s pro­pos­als are in line with ex­pert opin­ion. Peng Shizhang, a pro­fes­sor on water con­ser­vancy at Ho­hai Univer­sity in Nan­jing, cap­i­tal of Jiangsu prov­ince, said China is a coun­try vul­ner­a­ble to floods and drought in dif­fer­ent sea­sons and ar­eas.

Projects on ma­jor rivers, such as the Yangtze, are meant to pre­vent flooding that dam­ages cities and causes ca­su­al­ties. Mean­while, small rivers and ur­ban ar­eas should also be put un­der the spot­light as these are ar­eas where most peo­ple live and are vi­tal to China’s food se­cu­rity, Peng said.

The func­tion of small rivers in flood con­trol is sim­i­lar to that of cap­il­lary ves­sels in a hu­man body, said Wang Congx­ing, a flood-con­trol of­fi­cial in He­fei, cap­i­tal of An­hui prov­ince. The gov­ern­ment has spent huge amounts of money on large projects and now it’s time to shift fo­cus to small­er­scale ones, Wang said.

These projects will pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties for mi­grant work­ers and pri­vate busi­nesses by boost­ing in­vest­ment as a way to sup­port the na­tional econ­omy, Wang said.

“The de­ci­sion will see pos­i­tive ef­fects, once ap­pro­pri­ately car­ried out,’’ Peng added.

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