The central authorities have issued a guideline for shoring up the construction of a national water network as China strives to enhance its capability to guarantee water security.
The overarching document, jointly issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, guides the construction of the network from 2021 through 2035.
By 2025, China will develop major projects concerning the national water network and strengthen efforts to address weak links in water resource allocation, urban and rural water supply, flood control and drainage, water ecological protection and smart water networks, said the document released on Thursday.
It said, by that time, the intelligence level of the water network projects will improve, and the country's capacity to guarantee water security will be enhanced.
The long-term goals extending to 2035 include seeing a national water network taking shape, creating water networks at the provincial, municipal and county levels, and fostering a national water security system that meets the requirements of realizing socialist modernization.
At a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office, Li Guoying, minister of water resources, said the network will help address the mismatch between water resources distribution and productivity in China, which has hindered socioeconomic development.
Uneven water distribution has been a problem for China since ancient times, he said. Precipitation in the country is abundant in the summer but poor in the winter, and while southern China boasts rich water resources, the north suffers water scarcity.
As the country endeavors to establish a unified national market, smooth domestic circulation and promote coordinated regional development, it's a must to optimize water resources allocation, he said.
For an extended period of time, water consumption for socioeconomic development in some regions has exceeded the reasonable capacity of local water resources, resulting in a series of ecological problems, such as the shrinking of wetlands and overexploitation of groundwater, he said.
"These problems are completely contradictory to the essential requirements of Chinese modernization," he said.
The acceleration of the network's construction is also necessary because of climate change, as it causes increasingly more and severe extreme weather events in China, he said.
The country "urgently needs to make accelerated efforts to improve the infrastructure system for water resources management", he said. A high-quality, standardized and resilient national water network is of great importance to safeguard people's lives and property, as well as to support safe and sound socioeconomic development.
Zhao Chenxin, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said one of the priorities in the construction of the national water network is to tap the potential of digital technologies.
Efforts will be made to improve the monitoring system for the network and promote the application of intelligent technologies in its operation, he said.