In­no­va­tion Brings New Life to the Liang­shui River

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Wang Wei Edited by Mary Frances Cap­piello Pho­tos by Jin Jian­hui

After two phases of a new project, Liang­shui River has re­gained its rep­u­ta­tion as a clean and pleas­ant river.

The wind­ing Liang­shui River runs through seven of Bei­jing's dis­tricts and has a to­tal length of about 68 kilo­me­tres (km). Like a tra­di­tional Chi­nese ink paint­ing, it in­te­grates hu­mans and na­ture, bring­ing the smooth fields of the coun­try­side into a city of re­in­forced con­crete. In the spring, flow­ers bloom along the shores; in sum­mer­time, it brings cool to peo­ple of the city; in the au­tumn, there is colour­ful fo­liage to en­joy; in win­ter, snow turns the river­side into a fairy tale world.

Since an­cient times, the river has been closely re­lated to the lives of the city's res­i­dents, serv­ing their needs for wa­ter trans­porta­tion, drainage and ir­ri­gation. In the old days, the clear river with flour­ish­ing reeds on its sides at­tracted many wa­ter­fowl and was con­sid­ered a par­adise in which chil­dren could play.

Be­cause of re­cent in­no­va­tions, the river is show­ing its splen­dour again. In 2014, the “Com­pre­hen­sive En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­prove­ment for Liang­shui River Project” be­gan. The project, with new ideas, new tech­nolo­gies and us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal, has en­cour­aged pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in im­prov­ing the river. After two phases of the project, the “Mother River” of res­i­dents who live in the south part of Bei­jing has thrown off its once bad rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing dirty and foul-smelling. Res­i­dents can now re­lax, walk on the fit­ness trail, read books in the water­front pav­il­ions or ex­er­cise along the river­side. Calm wa­ter, a har­mo­nious at­mos­phere, and at­trac­tions with an­cient and mod­ern el­e­ments en­liven res­i­dents' lives and nour­ish the city.

Dis­play­ing Land­scapes with Beauty Sim­i­lar to the Yangtze River Delta

A res­i­dent who lives along the river's Yizhuang sec­tion said, “I am de­lighted when I see the great im­prove­ment of the river's wa­ter qual­ity. After the com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment, the wa­ter is so clear that aquatic plants in the river look like silk that is float­ing with the cur­rent. It is re­ally beau­ti­ful!”

Just a few years ago, the river's dirty, pol­luted wa­ter and of­fen­sive odour an­noyed peo­ple who worked and lived along its sides. How­ever, after im­prov­ing the wa­ter qual­ity, the river now runs clear. The for­est park and green paths near and along the river's Yizhuang Sec­tion have be­come good venues in which the pub­lic can en­joy some leisure time.

Peo­ple who work and live along the river's sec­tions in Xicheng, Feng­tai, Tongzhou, Shi­jing­shan and Chaoyang dis­tricts share the same feel­ing about the im­proved wa­ter qual­ity and its nearby en­vi­ron­ment. They want to hold onto im­ages of the au­tumn days that have just passed: the wa­ter mir­ror­ing the glow­ing colours around the river, peo­ple catch­ing wa­ter fleas along the river­sides, a sense of leisurely life like that of a Yangtze River Delta wa­ter town; egrets fly­ing by, bring­ing a sense of vi­tal­ity to the green forests; and bloom­ing chrysan­the­mums with a wild beauty that can last till the end of Oc­to­ber, whose rich colour is re­flected in peace­ful wa­ter to con­sti­tute a sim­ple and idyl­lic world.

Res­i­dents who live along the river wit­nessed its en­tire pe­riod of be­ing cleaned and know the suc­cess of the project was a hard-won vic­tory. When see­ing the river's present-day beauty, they will not for­get the be­gin­ning of its huge change from the spring of 2014. One city dweller who lives nearby said in a sort of lyri­cal way: “Liang­shui River, you sur­prise me as you re­ally changed. In spring you were im­proved,” she said, re­fer­ring to the re­pair of the em­bank­ment, “and now how beau­ti­ful you are. You are cleaned and no longer a dirty gut­ter in my mem­ory!”

The source of Liang­shui River is a wa­ter­way from Shougang Group (a ma­jor steel­mak­ing en­ter­prise) a waste wa­ter treat­ment plant in Shi­jing­shan Dis­trict. The river flows through Haid­ian, Xicheng, Feng­tai, Dax­ing, Chaoyang and Tongzhou dis­tricts. It meets the north sec­tion of the Grand Canal at Yulinzhuang in Tongzhou Dis­trict. In 2014, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River that is re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the river be­gan to carry out a project for the river's com­pre­hen­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ment. The scope of the project cov­ered the en­tire river and was di­vided into two phases. Phase One be­gan in April 2014 and was com­pleted in June 2015, with a to­tal in­vest­ment of 387 mil­lion yuan. The main tasks in­cluded

31.07 km of dredg­ing from the cul­vert of the Bei­jing West Rail­way Sta­tion in Xicheng Dis­trict to Ma­juqiao Water­gate in Tongzhou Dis­trict and a 39.5 km eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion area from Ren­minqu in Haid­ian Dis­trict to Ma­juqiao Water­gate in Tongzhou Dis­trict. It in­cluded eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion for em­bank­ments, plat­forms for de­con­tam­i­na­tion, wa­ter­scapes and steps over wa­ter, as well as two places us­ing bi­o­log­i­cal tech­nolo­gies for de­odor­i­sa­tion and four places with ionic de­odor­i­sa­tion. Phase One also in­cluded a sub-project on a 770-me­tre (m) sec­tion from Ma­ji­apu Donglu (East Road) to Ma­caohe, en­com­pass­ing eco­log­i­cal restora­tion of its main wa­ter­way, bot­tom­lands, em­bank­ments, river­side paths and water­side ramps. Ad­di­tion­ally, fa­cil­i­ties for wa­ter games as well as fa­cil­i­ties for the river's man­age­ment were de­vel­oped.

The Phase Two be­gan in the spring of 2018 and is ex­pected to be com­pleted be­fore the rainy sea­son of 2019. The main com­po­nents of the project in­clude: the green­ing and up­grad­ing of gardening land­scapes and ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties in the sec­tion from Cai­huy­ing in Feng­tai Dis­trict to Ma­juqiao Water­gate in Tongzhou Dis­trict; pro­vid­ing power sup­ply and il­lu­mi­na­tion as well as de­vel­op­ing gar­den land­scapes from Cai­huy­ing Nanlu (South Road) to the city's South Ring Road; dredg­ing a 10 m × 30 m sec­tion around Dachengqiao in Chaoyang Dis­trict to con­nect up­stream and down­stream then car­ry­ing out eco­log­i­cal restora­tion for the slopes of the dredged sec­tion.

Li Yan, chief en­gi­neer of the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River said: “The first phase of the river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment was car­ried out from 2014 to 2015 and its se­cond phase be­gan in 2018. Its main tasks will be com­pleted at the end of 2018. The first phase car­ried out wa­ter­way dredg­ing, which is known in tech­ni­cal terms as ‘un­der­wa­ter con­struc­tion. We also grew wil­lows along the river from Ren­minqu to Ma­juqiao Water­gate and built six de­odor­i­sa­tion fa­cil­i­ties. More­over, after com­plet­ing the river's Yangqiao Sec­tion, we took that as a model for our other en­gi­neer­ing work. The se­cond phase needed to im­prove il­lu­mi­na­tion and green slopes of the river ac­cord­ing to the needs of res­i­dents who live nearby. We added more plants along the slopes to pro­tect against ero­sion, and we de­vel­oped paths so that res­i­dents can take a walk there. From 2015 to 2017, be­tween the first and se­cond phases, we im­proved wa­ter qual­ity and im­ple­mented eco­log­i­cal restora­tion.”

The Bei­jing Liao and Jin Dy­nasty City Wall Mu­seum is lo­cated by the river, 600 m east of the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of the Liang­shui River. It was built on the site of the largest an­cient wa­ter gate ru­ins from any of the an­cient cap­i­tals of China. The ru­ins played a role in lo­cat­ing Zhongdu (the Mid­dle Cap­i­tal, Bei­jing) of the Jin Dy­nasty (1115–1234) and in study­ing build­ings and wa­ter con­ser­vancy fa­cil­i­ties in an­cient China. Nan­shuitou Vil­lage around Youan­men­wai was once the source of the river, 2 km from west of what is now the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River. In 1773, the river was dredged. A poem about the river by Em­peror Qian­long of the Qing Dy­nasty is in­cluded in Rixia ji­uwenkao (a book about the history of Bei­jing dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty [1644 –1911]), and reads, “The source of the river is Fengquan (“Phoenix Spring”), south­west of Youan­men. The river runs east and passes Wan­quan Tem­ple; in east of Yong­shengqiao, it runs south and then east along the walls of Nanyuan (an area for imperial hunt­ing in an­cient times); in Xiao­hong­men, it runs into Nanyuan and south­east to Lu­juan Vil­lage pass­ing by Shadiqiao; it runs through Ma­juqiao and into north sec­tion of the Grand Canal at Zhangji­awan in Tongzhou.” Fengquan dis­ap­peared long ago, but after the com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment, new at­trac­tions, such as parks for wa­ter games, have been de­vel­oped along the river.

Ac­cord­ing to chief en­gi­neer Li Yan, res­i­dents who live along the river by its com­pleted Yangqiao Sec­tion have a good place for wa­ter games. On sum­mer evenings, many peo­ple en­joy them­selves by tak­ing a walk, fish­ing, fly­ing kites and play­ing par­ent-child games along the shore. Other sec­tions have been com­pleted, such as Yangqiao Sec­tion, which fea­tures land­scaped gar­dens suit­able for sur­round­ing res­i­dents' leisure, Guang­caiqiao Sec­tion with wet­lands and aquatic plants, Ji­u­gong Sec­tion with colour­ful paths and Tongzhou Sec­tion with pic­turesque views.

After the dredg­ing and eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion of the river, it is now clean. The river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment has re­alised the project's goals of ”green­ing” the river­side, im­prov­ing

its safety and in­creas­ing its com­fort by pro­vid­ing eco­log­i­cal restora­tion, de­vel­op­ing gardening land­scapes, pro­vid­ing il­lu­mi­na­tion and cre­at­ing ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties in ad­di­tion to ren­o­vat­ing slopes, em­bank­ments and trails along the river­side. After the com­ple­tion of the project and a pe­riod of eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion, the river will be a vi­tal place, with var­i­ous species of plants, con­ve­nient fa­cil­i­ties and cul­tural re­sources, cre­at­ing a green world shared by the pub­lic, play­ing a role in im­prov­ing river restora­tion in Bei­jing and even in other parts of the coun­try.

Util­is­ing Innovative Tech­nolo­gies

Good tools are a pre­req­ui­site to the suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion of a job. The river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment not only needed over­all plan­ning, skilled man­age­ment and care­ful con­struc­tion, but also in­tro­duc­tion of ad­vanced op­er­at­ing tools to achieve higher ef­fi­ciency, save costs and re­duce im­pact on the nearby en­vi­ron­ment.

Be­fore the win­ter of 2018, two dredg­ing ships worked for four months on the river. Dur­ing that pe­riod, a10-km wa­ter­way from Ji­u­gong to Yizhuang was cleaned. In the type of clean­ing pro­ce­dure that was used, as a ship moves slowly down the river, a box-shaped piece of equip­ment is in­serted into the wa­ter and be­gins to suck sludge out of the riverbed into the ship. The sludge and wa­ter are con­tin­u­ously ag­i­tated in the ship un­til or­ganic and in­or­ganic mat­ter is grad­u­ally sep­a­rated. Fi­nally, agents are added for fur­ther pre­cip­i­ta­tion. Gravel that has be­come clean is re­turned to the same area of the river bot­tom. Sludge that is rich in or­ganic mat­ter, such as ni­tro­gen and phos­pho­rus, is fil­tered out and stored sep­a­rately. After be­ing treated by the dredg­ing ships, sludge changes from dark grey to yel­low­ish brown and the wa­ter be­comes clear. Com­pared with other ma­chines, the dredg­ing ship with this new tech­nol­ogy can re­duce the amount of sludge that needs to be shipped away by 98 per­cent and avoid dam­age to aquatic plants and an­i­mals. Mon­i­tor­ing data from a third-party agency shows the amount of or­ganic mat­ter in the sludge was re­duced by 97 per­cent while ni­tro­gen and phos­pho­rus were re­duced by 68 per­cent and 23 per­cent re­spec­tively. A large dredg­ing ship can clean about 1,000 sq.m of sludge per day, and in the river's shal­low wa­ter level, a small dredg­ing ship can work well.

When asked about the tech­nol­ogy, Li Yan ex­plained that in April 2016, the Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity in­ves­ti­gated a wa­ter re­source treat­ment project for Bei­daihe Na­tional Wet­land Park in He­bei Prov­ince which was de­signed and car­ried out by the He­fei In­sti­tute of Phys­i­cal Sci­ence of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences and Lake En­vi­ron­ment Tech­nol­ogy Com­pany. The Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity spoke highly of the sludge clean­ing tech­nol­ogy that had been used and could rapidly re­duce en­doge­nous pol­lu­tion in the wa­ter body, ef­fec­tively con­trol­ling pol­lu­tants that make wa­ter dark and foul-smelling, in ad­di­tion to restor­ing the wa­ter qual­ity in a short time. Yu Zengliang, an ex­pert from the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences was in­vited to in­ves­ti­gate Liang­shui River and put for­ward three sludge-clean­ing mea­sures. The Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River stud­ied a tech­ni­cal re­port from Lake Com­pany and de­cided to carry out a pi­lot project of clean­ing sludge to con­trol pol­lu­tion in the river's Ji­u­gong Sec­tion, which, after ob­tain­ing de­tailed re­sults data, would be good prepa­ra­tion for the river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment. In midJuly of 2016, the pi­lot project for clean­ing sludge near Nan­si­huan­qiao was com­pleted. Sludge pol­lu­tion was ef­fec­tively re­moved, a sta­ble mud-wa­ter in­ter­face was formed and wa­ter qual­ity was no­tice­ably im­proved, pro­vid­ing a favourable con­di­tion for the restora­tion of aquatic plants. The re­sults of the pi­lot project played a ma­jor role in the de­ci­sion to use this sludge-clean­ing tech­nol­ogy to carry out the wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment project along the en­tire river.

Liang­shui River is Bei­jing's first river us­ing the new type of dredg­ing ship for its wa­ter treat­ment. The ship has served on the river for three years and achieved the de­sired re­sults. Li Yan ex­plained: “Old dredg­ing ma­chines could also re­move pol­lu­tants from sludge, but the amount of re­moved pol­lu­tants, such as ni­tro­gen and phos­pho­rus, usu­ally ac­counted for only a few parts per 10,000 or a few thou­sandths. More­over, most of re­moved mat­ter was harm­less silt or river bed or­gan­isms. If the large amount of re­moved sludge is not ef­fec­tively dis­posed of and utilised, its trans­porta­tion and stor­age will bring a range of prob­lems and can cause sec­ondary pol­lu­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, dredg­ing cre­ates a large dis­tur­bance in a wa­ter body and has a huge im­pact on wa­ter ecol­ogy, so it will take a long time to re­store the di­ver­sity of river bed or­gan­isms. Com­par­a­tively speak­ing, this kind of dredg­ing is a mild, in-situ dis­posal tech­nol­ogy and only re­moves or­ganic mat­ter, such as ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rus and other fine par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tants, from the wa­ter. The cleaned sludge will be re­placed to

cover the river bot­tom to form a sta­ble mud­wa­ter in­ter­face, im­prove the trans­parency of the wa­ter body and cre­ated the right light con­di­tions for growth of aquatic plants. As a re­sult, the tech­nol­ogy will im­prove the river's wa­ter qual­ity, turn­ing it from pol­luted to sta­ble, clear and con­tain­ing aquatic plants. In ad­di­tion, dredg­ing sludge to re­move its pol­lu­tants can greatly re­duce the amount of pol­luted sludge and cost of post-treat­ment.”

Re­sults show the ef­fi­cacy of this type of dredg­ing. The river's 10 km Ji­u­gong Sec­tion has been greatly im­proved, show­ing “clear wa­ter with fish and trees on ei­ther side.” It has be­come a good lo­ca­tion for fish­ing. Ac­cord­ing to test pa­ram­e­ters, the river's wa­ter qual­ity has changed from Grade V to Grade III-IV and the cov­er­age of aquatic plants on some riverbeds now reaches more than 70 per­cent. After con­trol­ling pol­lu­tion from for­eign sources, clean­ing wa­ter, clean­ing the sludge and ad­just­ing eu­troph­i­ca­tion, nu­tri­ents in river bot­tom sed­i­ment have reached a bal­ance. Ad­di­tion­ally, as the wa­ter be­came cleaner, pho­to­syn­the­sis in­creased and more than 10 orig­i­nal species of sub­merged, free-float­ing aquatic plants, such as sago pondweeds, hy­drillas, Eurasian wa­ter mil­foils and horn­worts, be­gan to grow again. Aquatic an­i­mals, such as shrimp and small fresh­wa­ter fish like loaches, are also grad­u­ally re- emerg­ing. The river is now sta­ble due to its in­creas­ing bio­di­ver­sity. In the fu­ture, the dredg­ing ships that have worked so well along Liang­shui River will also op­er­ate in the south sec­tion of the city's moat and the north sec­tion of the Grand Canal to im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity there and safe­guard Bei­jing's wa­ter re­sources.

In­tro­duc­ing a New Model

From Septem­ber 2004 to De­cem­ber 2006, Liang­shui River im­ple­mented a wa­ter treat­ment project. Wa­ter qual­ity, flood con­trol and eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment along the river were tem­po­rar­ily im­proved, but after the project, wa­ter qual­ity was un­sta­ble. Un­like this, the com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment project launched in 2014 has led to more long-term en­hance­ment of wa­ter qual­ity. Per­haps the bet­ter re­sult is be­cause the 2014 project launched by the Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity and Bei­jing En­ter­prises Group Com­pany Lim­ited (BG) has been car­ried out us­ing the com­bi­na­tion of pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal.

“We (the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River) be­gan to co­op­er­ate with BG in 2013 based on this model. At that time, the govern­ment en­cour­aged be­gin­ning to use a com­bi­na­tion of pub­lic and pri­vate fund­ing to deal with is­sues in pub­lic ser­vices. The Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity and BG en­tered into a frame­work agree­ment to se­lect two rivers as a pi­lot and Liang­shui River was one of them,” said Yang Liy­ing, an of­fi­cial from the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River. “After the sign­ing of the agree­ment, the river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment project started. The Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity au­tho­rised the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River to su­per­vise and carry out the project. The first and se­cond phases of the project were near the up­per reaches of Ma­juqiao. An­other frame­work agree­ment us­ing the model was signed be­tween BG and the Peo­ple's Govern­ment of Tongzhou Dis­trict be­cause parts of the project cov­ered ar­eas of Ma­juqiao which are lo­cated within Tongzhou. The 68 km river be­gan to be im­proved.”

In re­cent years, the wa­ter qual­ity en­vi­ron­ment of Liang­shui River has greatly im­proved. Dur­ing this pe­riod, the project not only has paid at­ten­tion to the im­prove­ment in the river, but also has fo­cused on the en­vi­ron­ment around the river at the same time, such as shut­ting down sewage pipe­lines that dis­charged waste wa­ter into the river, ren­o­vat­ing slopes, ex­pand­ing re­cy­cled wa­ter plants, pro­vid­ing ur­ban and ru­ral sewage emer­gency re­sponses, con­trol­ling in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural wastes and other daily man­age­ment.

A great ben­e­fit of us­ing the com­bi­na­tion of pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal is that it fa­cil­i­tates in­te­grated plan­ning and man­age­ment of the wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment project. Yang Liy­ing said: “In the past we thought we just needed to deal with ex­ist­ing prob­lems when we im­proved the river's qual­ity. For ex­am­ple, we just car­ried out dredg­ing or green­ing work, which did not bring about a com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment in the river. In 2014, our idea changed and be­gan to re­flect a com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment, cov­er­ing all the prob­lems af­fect­ing wa­ter qual­ity. The wa­ter body, slopes and places near the river are all con­sid­ered. The prob­lems in­cluded dirty wa­ter and odour that im­pacted nearby res­i­dents, en­tire slopes with poor wa­ter re­ten­tion and low- qual­ity land­scape gardening along the river. We needed to take eco­log­i­cal mea­sures to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity in stages after we fully con­sid­ered

prob­lems that af­fected the river. That was a new idea we had when we be­gan to co­op­er­ate with BG.”

Along with new ideas for im­prov­ing the river, new tech­nolo­gies have been in­tro­duced. On slopes along the Yangqiao Sec­tion, plants with soil fix­ing func­tions are grown. One ex­am­ple of this is the wil­low tree. Peo­ple sel­dom think about the role trees play in im­prov­ing the river slopes or wa­ter qual­ity when they see wil­lows along the river­side. How­ever, the trees' root sys­tem can help fix soil in place and ab­sorb pol­lu­tants from the wa­ter. Wil­lows need to be pruned two times a year, and this prun­ing equals re­mov­ing pol­lu­tants. As wil­lows can grow back again with­out any hu­man aid, plant­ing this type of tree is a good way of pu­ri­fy­ing wa­ter qual­ity in the long term.

Ex­ca­vat­ing deep pits for dredg­ing sludge in the river is an­other new tech­nol­ogy now be­ing used dur­ing the river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment. In the past, us­ing ma­chines to dredge the river was ex­pen­sive, took a long time and pos­si­bly caused new pol­lu­tion. When im­prov­ing Liang­shui River's wa­ter qual­ity, deep pits for dredg­ing sludge have been ex­ca­vated in five lo­ca­tions. Sludge will flow into the deep pits with the cur­rent. Ac­cord­ing to the amount of sludge that has been de­posited, the pits are dredged once a year. This tech­nol­ogy is more con­ve­nient and only re­quires the dredg­ing of each pit, ef­fi­ciently re­duc­ing im­pact on the en­tire wa­ter­way.

“In the project based on the com­bi­na­tion pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal model, the Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity rep­re­sents the govern­ment and BG rep­re­sents pri­vate cap­i­tal. Dur­ing the co­op­er­a­tion, on be­half of the Bei­jing Wa­ter Au­thor­ity, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River con­ducted daily su­per­vi­sion of the project. BG'S ad­van­tage is it can pro­vide ad­vanced man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and tech­nolo­gies,” Yang said. “We needed to co­op­er­ate with designers, su­per­in­ten­dents and con­struc­tion units when car­ry­ing out projects in the past, but now we have a one-stop ser­vice. BG is fully re­spon­si­ble for the project. The Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River is just a su­per­vi­sor. Our su­per­vi­sion is com­pre­hen­sive and cov­ers the en­tire project. It in­cludes su­per­vis­ing the con­struc­tion sched­ule, qual­ity and safety, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the project's in­spec­tion and ap­proval. After the project is ap­proved, we are re­spon­si­ble for su­per­vi­sion of its long-term main­te­nance. We will con­duct a sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey and su­per­vise var­i­ous par­ties' per­for­mance.”

The river's com­pre­hen­sive im­prove­ment has been car­ried out for five years based on this model. As a su­per­vi­sor, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River made a pe­ri­odic sum­mary about the

project: This model of im­ple­ment­ing the project has saved man­power and ma­te­rial re­sources; BG has played a role in im­prov­ing all as­pects of the project's work ef­fi­ciency, and the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice has also gained ad­vanced ex­pe­ri­ence and man­age­rial ideas dur­ing the project of im­prov­ing the river.

Serv­ing as a Shift River Chief

Serv­ing as a shift river chief is now a ma­jor fea­ture of the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Liang­shui River be­cause of the shift to the com­bi­na­tion pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal, in which the gen­eral pub­lic also par­tic­i­pates in main­tain­ing river wa­ter qual­ity. In ac­cor­dance with a doc­u­ment is­sued by the Chi­nese govern­ment on De­cem­ber 11, 2016 about launch­ing the river chief sys­tem across the coun­try, gov­ern­ments at all lev­els have fo­cused on and have be­guan to im­ple­ment it.

As part of this pro­gramme, ev­ery morn­ing along the river's Youan­men Sec­tion, el­derly or young vol­un­teers who wear green waist­coats and arm­bands be­gin their daily river in­spec­tion tour. They pick up a va­ri­ety of dis­carded waste, such as plas­tic bags and drink bot­tles, and put them in their garbage col­lec­tion bags, plus en­cour­age passersby to learn about pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Vol­un­teers need in make in­spec­tion tours ev­ery day in des­ig­nated ar­eas within des­ig­nated times. They need to re­port and han­dle prob­lems as soon as pos­si­ble after find­ing them. If they are un­able to deal with the prob­lems they find, they need to re­port them to an on­line su­per­vi­sory plat­form ad­min­is­trated by govern­ment agen­cies. In short, shift river chief vol­un­teers' re­spon­si­bil­i­ties can be summed up as “three ob­ser­va­tions and five re­ports.”“three ob­ser­va­tions” means they must ob­serve if there are any sus­pects who want to dam­age the river and its sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment, if there are any sit­u­a­tions that will cause ma­jor pol­lu­tion in­ci­dents and if there are any pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties that do not work. “Five re­ports” means vol­un­teers must re­port wa­ter pol­lu­tion, pub­lic se­cu­rity is­sues, en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion, ma­jor sources of hid­den dan­ger, and il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties to the cor­re­spond­ing govern­ment agen­cies. At each quar­terly joint meet­ing, the shift river chiefs sum up their work, ac­cept new tasks and co­or­di­nate with each other to en­sure the healthy eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment of the river. They have de­vel­oped an on­line plat­form to man­age re­ported in­for­ma­tion, con­duct co­or­di­na­tion be­tween var­i­ous par­ties, deal with prob­lems and col­lect feed­back, which helps govern­ment agen­cies im­ple­ment post-su­per­vi­sion and form a long-term mech­a­nism for main­tain­ing the pro­gramme.

“We are re­tired, but we have the op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether be­cause we vol­un­tar­ily serve as shift river chiefs. We are will­ing to do things for our home be­cause we love it,” said Zhou Ying, who serves as a shift river chief of the vol­un­teer in­spec­tion tour group along the river's Youan­men Sec­tion. “There­fore, in­creas­ing num­bers of res­i­dents have be­come vol­un­teers and joined us. We are proud of what we are do­ing now.”

‘‘Serv­ing as a shift river chief is a ma­jor fea­ture of the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Liang­shui

River. The ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice and the lo­cal gov­ern­ments worked to­gether to de­velop the sys­tem,” chief en­gi­neer Li Yan ex­plained. “Serv­ing as a shift river chief not only sup­ports, but also su­per­vises the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice. For ex­am­ple, they can give us good sug­ges­tions from res­i­dents. The sys­tem re­flects the govern­ment ser­vice ca­pac­ity and en­cour­ages pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, form­ing com­mon gov­er­nance for the river ad­min­is­tra­tion by the govern­ment and the pub­lic.”

The serv­ing as a shift river chief sys­tem was first im­ple­mented in Feng­tai Dis­trict, with Youan­men and Xilu­oyuan sub-dis­tricts be­ing cho­sen as its pi­lot ar­eas. On Septem­ber 9, 2017, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River held a meet­ing about the river chief sys­tem for the Feng­tai Dis­trict Sec­tion, fo­cus­ing on set­ting up a com­mu­nity-level man­age­ment sys­tem to carry out river man­age­ment and de­cide innovative meth­ods of vol­un­teer par­tic­i­pa­tion. The Youan­men Sub-dis­trict es­tab­lished the “Dou Zhen Vol­un­teer As­so­ci­a­tion” to im­ple­ment en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion along the river through daily in­spec­tion tours. Xilu­oyuan Sub-dis­trict for­mu­lated a work plan to im­ple­ment the river chief sys­tem at sub-dis­trict and com­mu­nity lev­els ac­cord­ing to the area's lo­cal con­di­tions. They also worked out a plan to re­quire rel­e­vant of­fi­cials from the sub-dis­trict of­fice and com­mu­ni­ties un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion to serve as shift river chiefs in the area and set up river in­spec­tion tour groups. After the im­ple­men­ta­tion of “serv­ing as a shift river chief” in Feng­tai Dis­trict, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River di­rected the es­tab­lish­ment of the sys­tem in Xicheng and Shi­jing­shan dis­tricts as well.

The shift river chief sys­tem has de­vel­oped greatly since its in­cep­tion. For in­stance, Chaoyang Dis­trict has set up a chil­dren's pro­gramme in which young­sters visit flood con­trol wa­ter gates and ar­eas along the river, en­abling them to join in wa­ter pro­tec­tion. This pro­gramme en­cour­ages young peo­ple to learn about the river's history and its present, love the en­vi­ron­ment, cher­ish wa­ter re­sources and con­trib­ute their own ef­forts to the city's wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment.

As of Novem­ber 10, 2018, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River re­ceived 83 com­plaints and rec­om­men­da­tions from shift river chiefs. All of them have been re­solved. For ex­am­ple, on Novem­ber 9, Xilu­oyuan SubDistrict Of­fice re­ported there were too many piled ashes around paths along the river's Yangqiao Sec­tion due to lo­cal res­i­dents who burned sac­ri­fices to an­ces­tors on the 1st day of the 10th lu­nar month ac­cord­ing to a tra­di­tional Chi­nese cus­tom. After re­ceiv­ing the re­port, the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fice of Liang­shui River co­or­di­nated with a clean­ing com­pany, which dis­patched its staff mem­bers to clean up the ashes be­fore the noon of the same day. This quick re­sponse won the plau­dits of the pub­lic.

The Yangqiao Se­cion of Liang­shui River

A dredg­ing ship op­er­ates along a sec­tion of Liang­shui River.

Aquatic plants along the Shan­huqiao Sec­tion of the river

The Guang­caiqiao Sec­tion of Liang­shui River fea­tures wet­lands and aquatic plants.

Vol­un­teers along the Yangqiao Sec­tion make in­spec­tion tours to pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

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