View of Jiaxing
View of Jiaxing - ©Flost (Jiaxing) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Shijiuyang Ecological Wetland for Safe Drinking Water


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City

Jiaxing

Icons use case study main actors

Main actors

Local Government, Regional Government, Community / Citizen Group, Research Institutes / Universities

Icons use case study project area

Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration

Duration

Ongoing since 2005/01

This practice ensures drinking water safety for residents and promotes continuous improvement in ecological and residential environments.

Located in the heartland of China´s Yangtze River Delta and in the river network of the Taihu Lake river basin plain, Jiaxing enjoys abundant water resources. However, because of upstream resources and rapid development in industrialization and urbanization, in-coming water pollution and urban pollution directly threatened drinking water quality for residents in Jiaxing. Although water quality has gradually been improved through comprehensive control and protection, micro-pollution of drinking water is still a practical problem.

Jiaxing City Government made great efforts to upgrade the water supply technology, focusing on research to improving water quality. The concept of pollution control was transferred from an engineering orientation towards ecological orientation. Thus, Jiaxing City took the lead in putting forward the practice of building artificial ecological wetlands in order to improve the water source quality in China. In the project aquatic plants in the wetlands play a main role in effectively removing pollutants bringing purified water quality from the wetlands comes up to national standards.

Innovative practice in Jiaxing City ensures drinking water safety for residents and promotes continuous improvement in ecological and residential environments. It also provides cities in the world facing similar problems of micro-pollution in drinking water with a meaningful solution.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
City
Jiaxing, China

Size and population development
2011: 790,000; 1990: 210,000; 2025: 1,290,000; 2010-2015: +4,98% / year

Main functions
industrial city

Main industries / business
textile industries, mechanical industries, chemical industries, electronic industries

Administrative structure
The prefecture-level city of Jiaxing administers 7 county-level divisions, including 2 districts, 3 county-level cities and 2 counties. These are further divided into 75 township-level divisions, including 60 towns, 2 townships and 13 sub-districts.

Located in the heartland of China´s Yangtze River Delta, northeast of Zhejiang Province and in the river network of the Taihu Lake river basin plain, Jiaxing enjoys abundant water resources. However, because its water resources come mainly from upstream, with rapid development in industrialization and urbanization since the 1990s, in-coming water pollution and urban pollution in itself directly threatened drinking water quality for urban and rural residents in Jiaxing. Although water quality has been improved gradually by means of comprehensive control and protection in recent years, micro-pollution of drinking water is still a practical problem.

In this context, Jiaxing City Government made great efforts to upgrade water supply technology, focusing on conducting research into improving water quality. Shijiuyang ecological wetlands for safe drinking water in Jiaxing City are one of the largest constructed wetlands for water resource protection in China. The concept of pollution control was transferred from an engineering orientation towards ecological orientation. Thus, Jiaxing City took the lead in putting forward the practice of building artificial ecological wetlands in order to improve the water source quality in China. In the project, aquatic plants in the wetlands play a main role in effectively removing pollutants in the water. As a result, purified water quality from the wetlands comes up to national standards.

Innovative practice in Jiaxing City not only ensures drinking water safety for residents and promotes continuous improvement in ecological and residential environments, but also provides cities in the world facing similar problems of micro-pollution in drinking water with a meaningful solution.

The overall time frame for the project started in 2005, when the Chinese Academy of Sciences Ecological Environment Research Centre completed a project proposal for the Shijiuyang Ecological Wetlands. In 2006, the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a technical programme for the project, on the basis of a thorough survey of upstream pollution in the water source and water quality, featuring innovative technology of source water control by combining multi-level interception and biological root-hole purification. Jiaxing Economic Development Zone management committee provided land for construction free of charge.

In January 2007, construction in the Shijiuyang Ecological Wetlands project was commenced in Jiaxing. The project occupies an area of 1087 sq. km. on the upstream of the water intake, using for this purpose a planned wedge-shaped green area in the north-west part of the city. The main component in the project simulates an artificial/natural wetland, including three functional zones of biological pre-treatment, root-hole purification, and in-depth purification. Contaminants in the water are degraded and absorbed by plants and soil root-holes under the influence of water level change effects in the wetland site.

16 households living in the project area moved to new settlements. Nine construction companies were involved in constructing the wetlands through bidding invitations and tendering. During project construction, the city government, social enterprises, schools,and individuals were called upon voluntarily to plant trees. 30 000 trees have since been planted, with a survival rate of more than 95%.

At the end of 2007, earth modelling had been completed. Between 2008 and April, 2009, all supporting projects, including planting aquatic plants, were completed.

In June 2009, the project was fully completed and put into operation. In December 2011, the project was honoured with the China Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment by the China Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. At the same time, the project underwent expert review organised by the Ministry, and became a national level water demonstration project.

Involved stakeholders were:

  • Central, provincial and municipal government financial departments which ensured investment, experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jiaxing City Water Design Institute, invited to provide technical support,
  • Jiaxing Water Group was responsible for construction and management,
  • Jiaxing municipal government made further amendments and improvements to regulations on source water protection,
  • Jiaxing Administrative Committee of Urban-Rural Planning and Development,
  • Jiaxing Economic Development Zone management committee
  • Zhejiang Province Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Total investment for the project was USD 10,793,700, of which USD 1,190,500 was from China Central People's Government, accounting for 11.03%. USD 4,761,900 came from Zhejiang Provincial Government, accounting for 44.2%. USD 4,841,300 given by Jiaxing Municipal People's Government, accounting for approximately 44.85%.

Jiaxing Economic Development Zone management committee provided land amounting to 1.087 sq. km. free of charge for project construction. Jiaxing Administrative Committee of Urban-Rural Planning and Development, Jiaxing Bureau of Water Resources, and Jiaxing Environmental Protection Agency provided full guidance in administrative and technical aspects.

Jiaxing Water Resources and Hydropower Survey and Design Institute provided documentation, feasibility study report, and preliminary design. Jiaxing Water Investment Group Co., Ltd. was responsible for construction and management in the Shijiuyang ecological wetland site for drinking water. Volunteers were called upon to undertake tree-planting. 30,000 trees were been planted with more than 95% surviving and creating 43.50 % of green space.

There are various results and impacts of the Shijiuyang Ecological Wetlands project, both in Jiaxing and in outskirts and neighbouring districts.

Safe drinking water covers 100% of Jiaxing Municipality rural areas. Furthermore, the project improved ecological and residential environments in the project area and surrounding land, promoted real estate development, and increased land value. The area also is becoming a hot spot for attractive new town investments.

Meanwhile, five towns and districts within Jiaxing City Municipality are very active in learning lessons from the Shijiuyang project. They are preparing to develop ecological wetlands with the aim of further strengthening sustainable development capability.

Ecological wetlands for safe source drinking water have been integrated into overall Jiaxing City planning which will be sustainably used and benefit future generations. The process of public participation in the wetland construction and management further enhances public awareness for ecological and environmental protection and strengthens determination to protect the mother river in Jiaxing. Local residents truly become masters of home building and life enjoyment.

The municipality has also made further amendments and improvements to regulations on source water protection. This shows that Chinese authorities are developing awareness of water as valuable and scarce resource.

Fulfilling the basic needs of urban inhabitants, such as supplying safe drinking water, may seem self-evident. However, these projects are connected with costs which have to be funded by central and local authorities in China. There has to be willingness in the city’s inhabitants to improve living conditions to launch a project such as this. The problem does not occur in the case of Jiaxing.

River pollutioin in China is a tremendous problem. If the project were to evolve into nationwide policy, it would have big influences on the national economy. A lot of Chinese production has huge demands for water. Planning and realising wetlands is connected to funding, as well as regulations on source water protection which may negatively influence the economy. Due to dependence on exporting manufactured goods such as textiles or electronic products, there cannot be a forecast whether the project can be transferred to the whole country.

In 2006, Chinese companies needed ten times more water to produce the same product as companies in other industrialised states. The challenge therefore is to realise that water is a limited resource and has to be re-used.


Amendments and regulations determined by Jiaxing Municipality represent a changing awareness towards the subject.

Jiaxing municipal government is planning to carry out a second ecological wetlands projectThe new project includes ecological wetlands providing safe water for two water works in Jiaxing city, with a total water supply capacity of 600,000 tons per day.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Ecological Environment Research Centre, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Survey and Design Institute and other professional institutions are wrapping up, upgrading and disseminating demonstration experience in this project. In December 2011, the project underwent expert review and was designated a nation-level water demonstration project by the China Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Further development also depends on the awareness of water as resource. The need to set up a platform for ecological sciences and technology in dealing with water-related problems is recognised by authorities and needs to be further developed. There are plans to cooperate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Ecological Environment Centre to carry out joint research and development activities on environmental improvement.

The main project success factors were both increasing awareness of water as resource and financial and technical support from China local and central authorities. With its integrated approach, the Jiaxing wetlands example can easily be transferred to other cities in China affected by similar problems. Public participation within the project also positively influences inhabitants' environmental consciousness.

The overall success factor is obviously the all-pervading power of the Chinese government and local authorities, which made it possible that land for construction was provided free of charge and 16 households moved voluntarily.

The Shijiuyang Ecological Wetlands for Safe Drinking Water is officially not the result of transfer, but wetlands function as a filter system for water is common knowledge. There are many examples of artificially constructed wetlands around the world.

 

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Camille Toggenburger
Berlin, Germany

Camille Toggenburger

Individual | Community and Content Manager | urban sustainability exchange

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