Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), the Chinese Government Department responsible for water administration, was founded in October, 1949. On February 11, 1958, the 5th Session of the 1st National People’s Congress promulgated decisions to consolidate Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Electric Power Industry into Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power. On February 23, 1979, Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power was separated into two ministries. After the institutional reform in 1982, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Electric Power were combined again as Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power. In April, 1988, the 1st Session of the 7th National People’s Congress passed the institutional reform of the State Council to set up Ministry of Water Resources. Ministry of Water Resources was reorganized on July 22, 1988.
In accordance with the stipulations of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Water Resources is given the following mandates.
1. Ensure water resources are rationally developed and utilized; formulate water resources development strategies, plans and policies; provide draft legislations and promulgate water administrative rules and regulations; make integrated river basin management plans and flood control plans for major rivers and lakes. Make proposals of total investment and water projects with fixed assets and plans of national fiscal funds, review and verify fixed assets investment projects within the national plan and the scale of a yearly plan in accordance with the authorization granted by the State Council. Put forward and organize the implementation of water project investment plan of the Central Government.
2. Take overall consideration and secure domestic, industrial and ecological water uses; undertake integrated water resources management and supervision; formulate and supervise the implementation of national and inter-provincial development plans of water supply and demand and schemes for water allocation and supervise; organize and undertake survey and assessment of water resources, as well as survey of water-energy resources in accordance with relevant provisions; allocate water among major river basins, regions and key water diversion projects; implement water abstraction licensing system, charging system of water resource fees and systems of water resources assessment and flood assessment. Provide guidance for water supply of water sector and township water supply.
3. Take charge of water resource protection; organize and draft water resource protection plans, water function zoning in major rivers and lakes and implementation supervision; review and verify the capacity of pollutant load of water bodies; make proposals on the limit of total wastewater discharge; provide guidance on the protection of drinking water sources, exploitation and use of groundwater as well as management and protection of groundwater resources in the planned areas of cities.
4. Take charge of flood control and drought relief, and undertake day-to-day work of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, including organizing, coordinating, supervising and directing the work of flood control and drought relief, regulating flood control and drought relief in major rivers and key water projects as well as emergency water allocation, preparing and implementing national emergency plans for flood control and drought relief; Provide guidance on emergency treatment of water hazards.
5. Take charge of water conservation; formulate water conservation policies, draft water-saving plans, develop relevant standards and give directions and promote the water-saving society campaign.
6. Provide guidance to hydrological work, including hydrological monitoring of water resources, construction and management of national hydrological station network, undertake monitoring of water quantity and quality of rivers, lakes and aquifers, publish hydrological data and water resources information, forecasting and national water resources bulletin.
7. Provide guidance to the management and protection of water infrastructures, water bodies and shorelines, control and development of major rivers, lakes, estuaries and coast beaches; give direction to the construction and management of water projects, organize and implement the construction and management of backbone or key projects that trans-boundary of provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities) and river basins; take charge of management of resettlement work of water projects.
8. Be responsible for control of soil and water losses by formulating soil and water conservation plans and supervision, implementing comprehensive measures for erosion protection and control, monitoring and forecasting and periodical notification; examination and approval of water and soil conservation plans of key construction projects, supervision and check and acceptance of water and soil conservation project; provide guidance to the implementation of national key water and soil conservation projects.
9. Provide guidance to irrigation & drainage and rural water supply by organizing and coordinating construction of farmland water facilities, construction and management of projects of safe drinking water supply and water-saving irrigation, coordinating water development activities in pastoral areas, and establishment of socialized rural water service system; Provide direction to the development of water-energy resources in rural areas in accordance with relevant provisions, and rural electrification and approach of small hydro-power development for firewood.
10. Be responsible for investigating illegal cases that violating water laws, mediate and arbitrate inter-sector and inter-province water disputes, provide guidance to the enforcement and execution of water laws and regulations; ensure production safety in water sector in accordance with relevant laws, safety of reservoirs and dams, supervision and management of construction activities related to water development, and supervision of water projects construction.
11. Management of water science and technology and foreign affairs related to water issues, by undertaking quality supervision, drafting and promulgating technical standards, specifications and codes of the water sector and supervision of its execution; undertake statistical activities, and handle foreign affairs concerning to transboundary rivers.
12. Other duties and responsibilities assigned by the State Council.