China’s Ministry of Finance has issued RMB57.4bn (USD8.87bn) in subsidies to accelerate water conservation efforts in 2021, up 3.1% YoY, as reported by US News on April 30. Specifically, the subsidies will support the implementation of flood and drought prevention systems to manage rivers, reservoirs, increase water usage efficiency and manage soil erosion. The subsidies will also be used to improve the quality of drinking water in rural areas through the construction of new reservoirs.
The subsidy comes after Beijing placed renewed focus on its environmental conservation efforts as detailed in its 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025). In March, the Ministry of Water Resources announced that China’s water-use efficiency had finally reached alignment with the global average of 60.8 cubic meters of water per RMB10,000 of GDP. In 2019, the Ministry reported a record RMB726bn (USD104.46bn) in water conservation projects across the mainland. In July 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission announced plans to launch 150 major water conservation projects with a total investment budget of RMB1.29tr (SD184bn). The projects are expected to increase the country’s reservoir storage capacity by 9bn cubic meters and create over 800,000 job opportunities per annum.