China China’s Zhejiang Province issues Regulation on Water Resources to encourage water conservation through various systems

On September 24, 2020, the government of Zhejiang Province, China issued the Regulation of Zhejiang Province on Water Resources. It will come into force on January 1, 2021. The new regulation is a revision of the Regulation of Zhejiang Province on Water Resources Management, which took effect on January 1, 2003. The old regulation will be abolished when the new one comes into force.

 

According to officers of the Department of Water Resources of Zhejiang Province, the focus of the revision is to encourage water conservation.

Under the new regulation, existing water conservation systems, such as allocation-based management and adjustments in water rates, will be continued while various policies to encourage water conservation that build on the past experiences of the province in water conservation have been added. Here are the most important new policies:

  1. The water departments of governments at the county level or higher must develop overall plans for the conservation and protection as well as development and utilization of water resources in each region.
  2. Enterprises at the province level or higher that draw water directly from rivers or lakes for water conservation receive a reduction in their water resources charge.
  3. When the total amount of major pollutant discharges in a region is calculated, an amount equivalent to the water recycled in accordance with the standard can be subtracted from the calculation.
  4. Public water utilities must upload the water usage information of enterprises whose annual water usage is more than 10,000 cubic meters to the government’s public data platform.

Besides, according to the officers, the new regulation comes with systems based on the province’s experiences accumulated in watershed eco-compensation, regional water resources assessments, the reform of the water withdrawal application and permit system, etc. Examples include the following.

  1. The eco-compensation fund must be used preferentially for the protection of water resources in water source areas, and livelihood security and production support to residents in the protection zones in water source areas.
  2. If a regional water resources assessment has been carried out for the location of a construction project, the project is not required to perform a water resources assessment when it applies for a water withdrawal permit.
  3. Water withdrawal permits are managed by the notification and commitment system1.
  4. The permit approval procedures for water withdrawal and river area occupation for water intake structures and buildings will be integrated.

1 The system in which permission is granted immediately when the authorities notify an applicant of relevant requirements, obligations, etc. and the applicant accepts them.

In addition, the new regulation also stipulates requirements on things like communication networks of dams and water utilities, cooperation among water utilities, exploitation of unconventional water resources, ecologically acceptable amounts of water discharge, construction of discharge facilities, construction of infrastructure for agricultural community water supplies, and leakage and damage control of water pipelines.

 

The original text of the regulation can be viewed at this link (in Simplified Chinese):

http://www.zj.gov.cn/art/2020/9/24/art_1229005922_1766351.html