Integrated Water Resources Management in the Yellow River Basin
(Yellow River Conservancy Commission, Zhengzhou, P.R. China, 450003)
Situation of Yellow River Water Development and Utilization
[Key words] Yellow River Basin, Water resources, Integrated managements, Countermeasures
The Yellow River basin is short of water resources, the conflict between water supply and water demand is intense. From 1950 to 2000, the water supply amount of Yellow River has changed from 12 billion m3 to 50.5 billion m3, which increased 3.2 times. With the speeded industrialization and urbanization in the Yellow River basin, the structure of water utilization has changed as the ratio of industrial and domestic water use became higher while agricultural water use lower.
Meanwhile, the overload of Yellow River water resources is mainly shown in the shortage of water entering the sea. According to statistics, from 1997 to 2003 the annual amount of water consumption outside the river course is 27.8 billion m3, accounted for 70.3% of Huangyuankou's natural runoff, especially the amount in 1997 and 2002 have reached to 95.6% and 95.3% respectively, which are much higher than the alarming line of 40% in accordance with the recognized international river development and utilization standard. Due to the excessive water development of the Yellow River, the water for environmental flow and sediment transportation inside the river course has been taken largely.
Integrated Yellow River Water Resources Management and Allocation
The Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) has done a lot of work in integrated Yellow River water resources management and allocation, summarized as following:
1) Allocated the initial water rights inside the Yellow River basin prior to other large river basins in China. The available Yellow River water supply amount of 37 billion m3 was allocated to the nine provinces/districts inside the Basin as well as Hebei province and Tianjin city outside the Basin, also 21 billion m3 of water was allocated for the sediment transportation and ecological demand, which makes the Yellow River become the first one to allocate water in the whole Basin among the large rivers in China.
2) Be the pioneer to implement the water permit and cap control management under the unit of whole basin. Currently, YRCC has licensed 371 sets of water permit certificates. The surface water abstraction projects licensed by YRCC could control about 57% of total water consumption in the Yellow River Basin, and even 75% of the consumption in the main stream.
3) Carried out the pilot study and practice of water right trading in the Yellow River Basin actively and firmly. YRCC began the work of water right trading in Inner Mongolia and Ningxia as tests since 2003. The proprietor of new industry projects could invest on the water saving projects in the irrigation area, and the saved water from the channel leakage and water loss could be consequently traded to the new industry projects through paying.
4) Implementation of integrated Yellow River water regulation. The integrated Yellow River water regulation was initiated since March 1999. Presently, the allocation reach has been extended to the downstream below Longyangxia, and even to some main tributaries like Wei He and Fen He. For the water management of tributaries, three different management modes were developed and used on nine tributaries to implement water allocation and regulation.
Existing Problems of Yellow River Water Management and Regulation
1) Intense conflicts between water supply and demand endanger the river health. On the one hand, the excessive water resources development cause insufficient water for sediment transportation and severe damage to aquatic ecological environment; on the other hand, the conflicts between supply and demand is obvious, the industrial and agricultural water use are limited by water shortage is becoming more serious. 2) Situation of water pollution is still serious; 3) Low water use efficiency in the river basin; 4) The management of water resources and allocation method is weak, and the implementation is not completely in place.
Countermeasures and Suggestions
Firstly, maintain the harmony between human and the Yellow River, ensure the accordance of domestic, productive and ecological water use. Secondly, enhance water saving and protection. Manage, allocate and utilize the water resources integratedly. Thirdly, perfect the engineering system of water regulation, and improve the technical level of water management and allocation.