THE CENTRAL AUTHORITIES have vowed to establish a lake chief system before the end of this year to further strengthen the protection of the country's water resources. Guangming Daily commented on Monday:
The lake chief system is an extension of the river chief system that was introduced two years ago. The river chiefs are held accountable for any polluting of or damage to the rivers they are in charge of, and the lake chiefs will likewise be accountable for the lakes they are responsible for.
The system of water chiefs puts an end to the former dilemma of which local government departments were responsible for protecting the rivers and lakes in their areas.
Establishing the lake chief system, whereby the leaders of a provincial-level government are chiefs of the major large lakes in a province, while the leaders of the city, county and township governments are responsible for the smaller lakes in their jurisdictions, makes it clear local government leaders are responsible for the water resources in their areas.
For a long time, the country's lakes have been threatened by land reclamation for development, the discharge of waste from industries, illegal aquaculture and sand excavation, among other things, which has resulted in the constant shrinking of the country's lakes, deterioration of the water environment and degeneration of the lake functions.
Take Wuhan, for example. The capital of Central China's Hubei province is known as a lake city, as it once boasted 127 lakes of various sizes in just its downtown area. But that number plummeted to 38 with the city's development over the past 30 years.
Since the lake and river chiefs are heads of governments of various levels, they will be able to mobilize local resources and coordinate relevant efforts to protect the lakes and rivers, which used to be difficult when the protection powers were divided among different departments.
The lake and river chief systems are of special importance given the fast pace of urbanization in China, which poses a direct threat to the country's lakes and rivers, the lake and river chief system drives home the message that China is better protecting its precious water resources. (Source: China Daily)