Chinese cities are facing challenges resulting from population growth, climate change and deterioration of urban infrastructure systems.
As water demand keeps increasing, a growing number of cities are dealing with the complications of managing scarcer and less reliable water resources in an efficient way.
Leveraging on experiences form the EU, the EC-Link Project aims to support Chinese cities in addressing water problems and improving water management in urban areas.
Recently, the Office of the Joint Conference of Rural Toilet Renovation in Shandong Province issued the Pilot Work Plan for Creating and Improvement of Rural Harmless Sanitary Toilets in the Eastern, Central and Western Province (2018-2020). As a pilot area in the east China, Weihai is urgently needed to promote integrating both works of rural toilet reform and domestic sewage treatment, and explore an upgraded version of toilet revolution.
How to renovate and upgrade rural toilets? The Plan clarifies the ways to effectively carry out both the toilet reform and rural domestic sewage treatment. For the villages that have not reformed their toilets, they in principle may adopt the modes the modes of single family, multi families or whole village to include their sewage into a pipe network, so to collectively treat the toilet sewage and kitchen sewage and all other domestic sewage such as bathing and soaking waste water, and thus realizing the treatment and control at the pollution source end and in just one step. For the single-family treatment mode, it takes a household as a unit, to install a small single-family processing facility that is used to collect all the domestic sewages such as toilet sewage, kitchen sewage, bath water, and laundry waste water. For the relatively centralized processing mode, it takes multi-family or whole village as a unit, to construct domestic sewage treatment facilities that are used for centralized collection and treatment of domestic sewages. For the tube management mode, it is deployed for households that are in a village close to a town. Each household will set up a sedimentation tank, and each village will lay down a pipe network through which the domestic sewage will be sent and included in the town sewage treatment plant for centralized treatment. It also encouraged qualified villages to use the ways of artificial wetland or oxidation ponds for ecological treatment.
According to the Plan, in principle the pilot city will select 1-2 counties (cities, districts) to carry out pilot projects. Other cities and counties should also carry out the pilot project at different levels such as counties, towns, and villages, based on local actual conditions. The pilot will be fully launched by the end of the year. In 2020, the successful experience of the pilot will be gradually promoted throughout the province.
On the morning of December 25, Mr. Yu Xinrong, deputy secretary of the Party Group and Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of People’s Republic of Chinas, came to Hefei, Anhui Province to survey and research the way of rural domestic sewage treatment and presided over a symposium. Vice Governor of the Province Zhang Shuguang accompanied. Mr. Li Weiguo, Director of the Rural Social Undertakings Promotion Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mr. NingQiwen, Deputy Director of the General Office of the Ministry, and Mr. Chen Yongqing, Deputy Director of the Department of Soil Ecology and Environment of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, participated in the survey. Mr. Liu Weidong, deputy secretary general of the provincial government, Mr. Lu Shiren, director of the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mr. Yang Zengquan, deputy director of the department, Mr. Song Zhigang, Member of the Party Group of the Provincial Department of Housing and Construction and chief engineer, and Mr. Wang Minsheng, deputy mayor, attended.
Mr. Yu Xinrong and his entourage went to the Fangfang Center Village, Huangpi Town, Chaohu City for a field study. The village, located in the north bank of Chaohu Lake, is a demonstration village for the construction of beautiful villages in Anhui Province in 2017. During the construction process, the village has newly laid down 9300 meters of rainwater pipe network, 243 sanitary toilets, 2 new public toilets, and a new sewage treatment station that can treat 50-ton sewage each day, making the domestic sewage treatment rate reach 95%. Mr. Yu also went to the sewage treatment station of the Fangfang Central Village and some of the villagers’ homes to learn more about their sewage treatment measures and achievements, and gave his high recognition.
In recent years, by taking the ride of national creation of the first pilot cities of water ecological civilization in the country, Luoyang City has integrated its construction of water ecological civilization to its “9+2” work plan and to its “four-river and three-channel simultaneous improvement”, urban parks construction, sponge city construction, and ancient capital civilization. In creating a civilized ecosystem, it established and improved the financing mechanism in which government plays a guidance role, locality plays as major players, market plays as transaction basis and the public actively participate in. The Xingluohu Park and the Demonstration Section within the Luohe water system comprehensive remediation program, etc. have been completed and put into use, and 83 projects including sewage interception and pollution control, water system connectivity, river/channel improvement, landscape enhancement and wetland protection have also been completed, forming a new pattern of “beautiful and regulated water system and ecological Luoyang”. The Acceptance Committee believes that with realization of “clear water, green shores, smooth roads and public benefits” as the overall goal and with the “four-river and three-channel simultaneous improvement” as the priority focus, Luoyang City has shown off its advanced concepts and reasonable layout, and achieved solid and remarkable and outstanding results. The acceptance committee unanimously agreed to accept the pilot project of Luoyang Water Ecological Civilization City.
It was learned from the Municipal Water Conservancy Bureau that the Dagu River Digitalization, which is the project to enable digitalized management of the Dagu River Comprehensive Treatment, was recently completed and put into operation. The project collects various regulatory data, monitoring data and monitoring video, and relies on big data technology to realize digitalization of objects in the watershed management, visualization of management processes, and scientifically making decisions of management. It provides strong support for river managers at every level to “Manage the river well, manage the people well, and manage issues well” to realize the post-construction objectives that are “unobstructed flooding, sounding dyke, clear water, green shore, and beautiful scenery”, and it explores a new mode of Internet-based water management in the new era.
It is reported that the project has built new, and upgraded the existing, water and rain information collection equipment, and improved the hydrological intelligence network. It built 79 rainfall observation stations, and connected 164 ground and underground water-level automatic monitoring stations along the river course of 170+ kilometers, to realized the real-time forecast and measurement of rainfall and water level at the main streams and at the main water conservancy projects. It has newly put into use 92 water measurement devices for the main streams of the Dagu River, and connected to the 4 water measurement devices at the reservoirs of Chanzhi, Yinfu, Beishu and Huangtong, and built 15 automatic water quality monitoring stations, to realize real-time monitoring of the water and soil conservation and the environment in the whole river basin. It has newly set up 214, and connected to 129, video surveillance facilities to collect real-time video information of the Dagu River’s main stream dikes, river dams, main tributary estuaries, traffic bridges, large and medium-sized reservoirs, hydrological stations and management facilities in the basin. It observes 24 hours a day the backbone water conservancy projects and management facilities, and it becomes the “telescope” for the river’s daily management.
On December 10-13, 2018, EC-Link Team, together with European experts, went to Zhuhai in line with on-going activates related to flood risk management, sea level raise and salinization of sweet water.
In specific the discussion focussed on the best solutions to protect the coastal area located in the East side of the city, at North of Qian Huan new development area. This area was strongly affected by the typhoons during last summer, that generated 31,4 billion RMB of damages, destroying about 7.000 houses and involving about 640.000 inhabitants, more than one third of Zhuhai population (1.7 million).
Zhuhai is already adopting protective measures, but, in light of the impressive consequences of this natural disaster, they are asking for a deeper analysis and further solutions to be applied. As a preliminary indication, European experts suggested that the problem has to be addressed not only at the scale of technical/infrastructural solutions. A more integrated approach based also on the urban scale (in terms of revision of planning choices) and the interaction of the several municipal divisions (environment, planning and economic) is needed.
It was agreed that European experts will provide 3/4 practical applications focussing on specific urgent needs of some part of the coastal areas and the elaboration of a Road Map combined with toolboxes.
A huge amount of ceramic waste in east China's Jiangxi Province has been transformed into a huge pile of cash as part of the ongoing sponge city project.
A sponge city is one in which urban precipitation is absorbed into the groundwater rather than running off into watercourses. The idea is to make better use of rainwater and prevent flooding. These sponge cities typically feature roof gardens, large numbers of trees, vast areas of lawns and permeable pavement.
Several European cities and Zhuhai City in southern China’s Guangdong province are willing to step up further cooperation to embrace resilience strategies after a workshop by the Europe-China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) in Zhuhai from the 12th to the 13th of June.
Resilience strategies in a global sense are when a city understands the challenges it faces; reviews its ability to face them and unites its people, projects, and priorities, so urban centres can act collectively to meet their resilience challenges.
The EC-Link Project invited to Zhuhai senior advisors, experts and urban planners from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bologna and Valencia, who brought proposals for comprehensive urban water strategies and effective European solutions to transforming a city under risk of great natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or floods into a resilient and sustainable city. Attending the meeting were around 100 experts, officials and professionals, including the director of Zhuhai Municipal Bureau of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (HURD), chief engineer of Zhuhai MBHURD and leaders from Zhuhai Institute of Urban Planning and Design.
Zhuhai, one of EC-Link’s pilot cities, seeks to identify the best practices of storm management, water management and urban resilience governance. With a coastline stretching 690 km and under the influence of tropical hurricanes during summer, the city is exposed to high risks of extreme weather disasters such as typhoon, heavy rain storm and floods. These threats were epitomized by Typhoon Hato, which inflicted direct economic losses exceeding 20 billion yuan on the city.
The city is poised to revise its general urban planning before 2020 which requires an upgrade of urban resilience in a systematic way. Experts from the European cities reviewed the Zhuhai Urban Planning and Design Technical Guidelines and gave advice on investment decisions, social inclusion and other technical elements. The meeting reflects EC-LINK's continuous efforts to build an EU-CHINA plafform on low carbon and ecological city development. After the meeting, both EC-LINK Project Zhuhai city planners will continue their dialogua in order to evolve pilot proposals and a disaster risk management framework of Zhuhai to assess, plan and enhance the capability of responding to natural hazards.
The pilot project in Zhuhai for building a resilient city will act as a template to provide local experiences and good models of urban resilience for larger-scale or nation-wide practice. China has seen an increasing number of cities with inadequate flood-control measures during its fast urban sprawl. On average, around 200 cities are faced with the problem of waterlogging caused by rain or storms every year.
The EC-Link project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization, which was signed by the Chinese government and European Commission in May 2012. The initiative was launched in November 2013 with the aim of assisting Chinese cities in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanization with cities in Europe.
China will need more than 1 trillion yuan ($148 billion) to build a massive network of waste water pipelines to reduce heavy pollution in urban rivers, an environment ministry official said on Thursday.
Under a national water pollution action plan published in 2015, China’s cities are under pressure to cut what authorities call “black and stinky water” to less than 10 percent of rivers in urban areas by 2020.
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With population growth, urbanisation and economic development, the demand for freshwater in urban areas are increasing throughout Europe. At the same time, climate change and pollution are also affecting the availability of water for city residents. How can Europe's cities continue providing clean freshwater to their residents? There are three answers giving by European cities, one is paying for the water we use , the second is re-using rain and greywater, and the third is reducing the loss.
Achieving a more sustainable use of urban public water supplies requires not only the implementation of measures such as those outlined above, but also raising public awareness on water conservation issues.Various means are available to inform domestic, business and tourist water consumers, including websites, school education programmes, local authority leaflets and mass media. The eco-labelling of appliances and eco-certification of hotels, for example, can also play an important role in raising awareness by helping consumers make informed choices about water efficiency and conservation.
Zhuhai – April 3rd, 2018
EC-Link Project and Zhuhai Municipality met in the view to strengthen their cooperation within Project’s activities. EC-Link and Hefei municipality have a long lasting cooperation that was expressed in the co-organization of the International Inter-City Lab held in Zhuhai in 2017.
Zhuhai Delegation was led by Mr. Zhaohui Wang, Director of Zhuhai Housing & Urban-Rural Development Bureau, together with Qiancong Peng, Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center; Zhentao Zhang, Vice-Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center; Meng Zhou, Vice-Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center; Zhiming Xu, Director of Zhuhai Municipal Building Energy-Saving Office; Guan Liu, Director of Zhuhai Architecture Design & Research Institute.
Director Wang first of all expressed the importance of the on-going cooperation with EC-Link Project and the willingness to strengthen it in upcoming months. More specifically, he stressed that the dialogue could be based on multiple aspects:
- Green building sector for sustainable urban development
- Land reclamation & harbour city development
- Sponge city & resilient city
- Low carbon urban planning
- Flood prevention for planning & building regulations
EC-Link and Zhuhai agreed to organize a series of training events to be held in May and June, 2018. The training events will see the participation of International stakeholders and experts; at the moment is confirmed that European cities of Valencia (Spain), Bologna (Italy) and Rotterdam (Netherland) will send their delegations to Zhuhai in light of EC-Link “City Network Unit” activity meant to facilitate the dialogue and fruitful cooperation among European and Chinese municipalities.
EC-Link Project and Hefei Municipality met in the view to strengthen their cooperation within Project’s activities. EC-Link and Hefei municipality have a long lasting cooperation that was expressed in the co-organization of the International Inter-City Lab held in Hefei in September 2017. Hefei Delegation was led by Mr. Daoyun Ma, Director, Hefei Urban Construction Bureau, together with Xueqing Hou, Division officer, Hefei Urban Construction Bureau; Shaochen Pan, Chief Planner, Anhui Provincial Urban Planning & Research Institute; Dongbing An, Director, Anhui Provincial Architecture Science Design & Research Institute.
Director Ma, Director of Hefei Urban Construction Bureau expressed his interest in deeper involvement of EC-Link activities. He wishes that future cooperation would tangle their current key challenge on the water contamination of Nanfei River, which is the mother river of Hefei City. Director Ma explained to EC-Link Team that the pollution is mainly due to the incomplete separation of drainage and sewage systems in downtown.
EC-Link Project and Hefei HURD agreed to keep constant communication in order to organize within June a technical site visit that will see the participation of International stakeholders and experts.
On March 23rd, 2018, EC-Link Project participated at the International conference: “The blue challenges and opportunities: from strategy into action - LABIRYNTH OF WATERS”, in Parma (Italy). The aim of this International Conference was to focus on the sub-national and national governments policies in relation to the climate change actions linked to the water management resources: water scarcity, flooding and extreme natural events.
Ms. Dai Guowen, Deputy-Director of EC-LINK Project (Europe-China Eco Cities Cooperation Project) and Director of International Cooperation Center, China Eco City Academy (CECA) delivered a speech on “Water Management in Chinese Cities: Policies and Cases”. Water sector is receiving great attention from both Chinese Central and Local Governments; the presentation was an important opportunity to share, within an international audience, on-going development and results achieved from Chinese municipalities in light of Chinese urban sustainable development.
On September 19-21, EC-Link Project, with the support of MoHURD, EUD and the Hefei Municipality has organized an Inter-City Lab (ICL) focused on water management, solid waste management and clean energy sectors.
The event has seen the participation of 120 delegates representing 8 European cities (Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Liverpool, Mannheim, Valencia and Växjö), 7 Chinese provinces (Anhui, Guangdong, Guangxi, Henan, Hunan, Qinghai and Shandong), 9 Chinese municipalities (Changzhou, Guilin, Hefei, Luoyang, Nanjing, Qingdao, Weihai, Zhuhai and Zhuzhou), representatives from local and provincial academies and research centers, European and Chinese experts.
During the event, among the many speeches, Ma’am Tong Guichan, Director of the Division of International Cooperation of MoHURD, affirmed the crucial importance of sustainable development of Chinese cities and the strong support of MoHURD to EC Link Project; Mr. Wang Daorong, Deputy Director General of Hefei Municipality, stated the great commitment of Hefei City to develop more environmental sustainable projects and the great importance of events like Hefei ICL where Chinese cities have the opportunity to share their experience with multiple European ones; Mr. Andrea Claser, Team Leader of EC-Link Project, stressed the full commitment of the Project to be a key component for Chinese and European cities in order to share mutual experiences and hopefully develop long term cooperation; Mr. Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Planner – EC-Link, provided important insights and specific examples about ongoing Chinese urban renewal and revitalization.
During the three days gathering, European and Chinese representatives have been sharing experiences and knowledge with the intent to create the so called City Network Units (CNUs); these new established working groups of Chinese and EU cities (CNUs) will work together to adapt selected practices/procedures to the Chinese urban context, so to allow an effective know how transfer.
In upcoming months, European and Chinese cities will work together with the intent to develop joint technical teams meant to be the baseline of long term cooperation programs and technology exchange in multiple areas such as: water governance and integrated river basin, zero landfill policy, renewable energy from bio-waste, urban storm water management, district heating from co-generating power plants, waste water treatment for the removal of harmful pollutants, municipal solid waste management, and many others.
Zhuhai, one of the two integrated pilot cities of EC-Link, is planning the regeneration of its river Qianshan. In this process, Zhuhai invited and hosted the EC-Link learning community of pilot cities to discuss sustainable water management practices.
Following an introduction of challenges faced in the frame of the Qianshan river rehabilitation, participants, including representatives of various municipal water bureaus, European and Chinese experts and companies, discussed related issues and came out with a common understanding that innovative technical monitoring and remediation solutions surely are important aspects, however good regional coordination soon appeared a key success factor.
Best practices from England as well as the Liao River management experience in China were shared by Atkins representative and water experts Simon Spooner. Solutions for better water stewardship were suggested by Pin Tian from Bureau Veritas.
An innovative Sino-German cooperation project on wastewater management in Qingdao, semi-central, was presented as inspiration to cities planning for waste water treatment plants, such as Xixian and Weihai. The semi-centralized system, integrating streams of waste water treatment, waste treatment and heat supply, offers a more efficient solution than a centralized option. During the discussions, participants actively debated on the feasibility of replicating this approach with regard to the project financing and general awareness towards decentralized solutions.
Sponge city concepts from various cities in Europe were shared by Dr. Giovanna Rossato, from the architecture and planning firm Progetto CMR, in response to questions from the city of Zhuhai planning its sponge city concept.
Participants were impressed by the interactive format of the workshop and comment the INTERCITY LAB as mind-opening, inspirational and meaningful.