On the afternoon of Mar. 30, MEE and MWR held a video conference in Beijing to make arrangements for the environmental inspection initiative targeting the centralized drinking water sources nationwide. An official with MEE presented and spoke at the conference, and officials with the Department of Water Resources of MWR also presented.
The action plan for the inspection was already announced by the former MEP and MWR on Mar. 9. The conference aimed at deploying concrete arrangements and mobilizations.
The official with MEE pointed it out that the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have always attached great importance to the environmental protection of drinking water sources, considered safe water supply as one of the important factors to keep social stability and improve the people’s living standards, and given top priority to it.
The 19th National Congress of the CPC proposes to fight three battles by the year 2020, in order to address major risks, launch targeted poverty alleviation programs, and control pollution. The inspection on drinking water sources helps eliminate the environmental hazards that pose a threat to the safety of source water, as part of the efforts to control pollution and address major risks, which are the two of the three battles.
As a matter of fact, the former MEP already launched environmental inspection on the drinking water sources in the cities at and above prefectural level in the Yangtze economic belt back in 2016 and 2017, following the instructions of Xi Jinping that joint efforts will be made to protect the environment of Yangtze economic belt instead of carrying out major development programs there.
By the end of last year, all of the 490 problems revealed by the previous inspections had been rectified. In December, the former MEP tasked the environmental protection departments to canvass the drinking water sources all over the country and got information on how the environment of those sources have been protected, which led up to the upcoming inspection.
During this inspection, we will delineate and mark the boundaries of the drinking water source protected areas, and straighten out the environmental incompliances inside the protected areas, so as to make the supply water much safer to drink, based on the experience of the past two years and the canvassing of those areas earlier.
The upcoming initiative is different from the ones carried out in the past two years, in that, a. the target area is wider. By the end of this year, the drinking water sources from surface water bodies at the county level in the Yangtze economic belt and at prefectural level and above in other areas will have been straightened out. The deadline for the drinking water sources at county level in other areas is the end of 2019.
b. The local governments will play a bigger part in the implementation of the action plan, given the fact that they are legally bound to protect the source water. They will oversee the city- and county governments in the review of the rectifications and the settlement of the listed problems.
c. The information disclosure is highlighted. Local governments are asked to open a column on official papers and government website to cover the upcoming inspection and make public the list of the problems and the progress in their rectifications. MEE will also disclose the above information on its official website, WeiChat, and Weibo updates as well.
The inspection is one of the seven major battles to be fought in the ecological and environmental protection area, said the official. The MEE will keep a close eye on the local inspection progress and review the protection of the drinking water sources in the cities at or above the prefectural level in the Yangtze economic belt.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)