China China releases water conservation promotion plan for 14th Five-Year Plan period

Water saving in industry to be promoted

China releases water conservation promotion plan for 14th Five-Year Plan period

On October 28, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and other four government departments jointly released a plan to promote a water conservation society during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021–2025). This plan sets out general requirements, main challenges, key areas, implementation measures, etc. for the promotion of water conservation.

Industry is considered a key sector for water conservation. Waste water recycling by industrial companies, pilot programs for near-zero effluent discharge systems and other measures are presented in the plan. The measures for water conservation in industry are outlined below.

Main goals and results of the 13th (2016–2020) and 14th (2021–2025) Five-Year Plan periods

Indicator measured 2015 result Goal for the 13th Five-Year Plan period Result of the 13th Five-Year Plan period Goal for the 14th Five-Year Plan period
Total water use (100 million m3) 6103 6700 5813 < 6400
Reduction in water use per 10,000 yuan of GDP (%) 23 28.0 Approx. 16.0*
Reduction in water use per 10,000 yuan of industrial value added (%) 20 39.6 16.0*

* Target reduction from the 2020 level.

Measures for water conservation in industry

Control the development of water intensive industries

    • Reduce the scale of water intensive industries in areas with water shortages
    • Create a list of construction projects that should be eliminated and lists of water intensive production processes and products that should be banned or restrained to control the development of water intensive industries

Promote water conservation and pollutant discharge reduction

    • Effectively manage water allocation and promote water conservation technologies and equipment to get companies to adapt themselves for water conservation
    • Carry out industrial waste water recycling projects with water intensive industries, including petrochemical, chemical, non-ferrous metals and textile printing, as key industries, and select the top 50 water efficient companies in the key industries by 2025

Create water saving industrial parks

    • Concentrate water intensive industries in industrial parks, where companies use water supplies in series, with companies that need lower-quality water using the water supplies more downstream, so that they can reuse industrial waste water
    • Carry out near-zero effluent pilot programs in national-level industrial development zones for high-tech industries, such as electronic and information technology devices and high-tech materials, in the Yangtze Delta region

Measures involving related policies

  • Develop regulatory systems for water conservation, which includes the creation of water conservation regulations
  • Promote the water efficiency labeling system while making it applicable to a wider range of products
  • Continuously promote the water conservation certification system by incorporating it in the green product certification labeling system
  • Carry out a water resources tax pilot program, in which companies and individuals are taxed on surface water or groundwater resources they use, at an appropriate time


The full text of the plan is available at


Author / Responsibility

AOKI Kenji

Senior Consultant, EnviX Ltd.
General Director, E&H Consulting Co., Ltd.

Business Performance

Expertise in EHS (environment, health and safety) consulting in ASEAN region.
- Environmental regulations updating
- Chemical regulations consulting


MSc in Earth Science, The University of Tokyo

AOKI Kenji