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China's Inter-Provincial Joint Office Ensures Unified Water Planning and Management

By RAN ZHENG|Jun 24,2022

On June 21, the joint promotion office of the Sichuan-Chongqing river chief system released 13 typical cases of collaborative water management in the adjacent areas of Sichuan-Chongqing, Southwest China. The document systematically summarized specific practices and innovative experiences of joint water management.

Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality coexist on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. There are 81 transboundary rivers with a basin area of more than 50 square kilometers, running through more than 100 cities, districts, and counties with a total length of more than 10,000 kilometers. These rivers involve the Main streams of the Yangtze River, Jialing River, Qujiang River, Fujiang River, and Chishui River, and eventually empty into the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Reservoir.

On June 18, 2020, Sichuan and Chongqing established the first inter-provincial joint promotion office of the river chief system in China. The two dispatched three staff members to work in either's office.

Establish a town-level cooperation mechanism

Dalu creek is a first-class tributary of the left bank of the Yangtze River, which is 37.8 kilometers long in Chongqing and 31.1 kilometers long in Sichuan. On the border between Baisha Town, Hejiang County, Luzhou Municipality, Sichuan and Zhutuo Town, Yongchuan District, Chongqing, part of the creek is under co-governance by the two towns.

In the past, aquatic plants and floating garbage often appeared in this section of the creek, which seriously affected the water quality and surrounding environment.

To thoroughly solve the interprovincial problem, Yongchuan District and Luzhou Municipality established a tower-level cooperation mechanism and signed a cooperative governance agreement between the two places. Through the agreement, both parties have added floating barrier facilities in the river's upper reaches and share the cleaning cost.

Baisha Town and Zhutuo Town jointly cleaned up the aquatic plants in the interprovincial section.

Baisha Town and Zhutuo Town jointly cleaned up the aquatic plants in the interprovincial section. (iChongqing file photo)

Jointly treat domestic sewage

The Wenhua Town, Liangping District, Chongqing is connected with the first bridge of Laojie Community, Kaijiang County, Sichuan. Wenhua River, a tributary of the Xinsheng River, crosses the two places.

In 2020, the only state-controlled section of the Xinsheng River had continuously exposed water quality issues. During the investigation, the two places found that in the interprovincial area of Wenhua River, many residential homes discharged domestic sewage directly into the river, which affected the water quality of Xinsheng River.

However, there is no sewage treatment plant or pipe network in Laojie Community, making sewage treatment a thorny problem.

"Considering the operation scale of the sewage treatment plant in Wenhua Town, can the sewage from Laojie Community be transferred there for treatment?" Kaijiang County proposed this cross-administrative method, which was unimaginable in the past, but is now quickly recognized by the two places, reached an agreement through consultation. Wenhua Town sewage treatment plant absorbs sewage from Laojie Community for free.

The Wenhua river with clear water and green bank.

The Wenhua river with clear water and green banks. (iChongqing file photo)

"The quick agreement was thanks to the deepening cooperation mechanism of river chief system between Sichuan and Chongqing," said an official from Chongqing municipal river chief office. The joint promotion office of the Sichuan-Chongqing river chief system jointly compiled river protection plans to ensure unified planning and management. It will create a replicable and sustainable model of Sichuan-Chongqing interprovincial river management.

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