Freshwater Resources Management in China: Case Study of the Yellow River Basin

In International Review for Environmental Strategies (IRES) Volume3 Number2 (Winter 2002)
Peer-reviewed Article

The Yellow River basin in China is harshly confronted by frequent water shortages and serious water pollution, along with the associated problems of intensifying floods and the deterioration of the ecology and environment. Water-related problems have become significant obstacles to sustainable development in the region, which points to the necessity for more efficient freshwater resources management. This paper reviews four key issues of water resources management in the Yellow River basin: water allocation, water pricing, institutions and administration, and legislative authority. With regard to management problems, this paper indicates that reforms of water resources management should be carried out, based on scientific research, with associated structural measures and non-structural measures. Scientific research, including the Digital Yellow River Project and one of the "973" projects, is expected to help better understand the hydrological cycle of the Yellow River basin. Structural measures are also discussed, such as water protection, water conservation, rainwater collection, and water transfer. Two of the most important non-structural measures identified for improving freshwater resources management in the Yellow River basin are the re-adjustment of the industrial structure and the creation of a water-related educational program.

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Changming Liu
Hongxing Zheng