Honorable Minister Karen Ellemann, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to have this chance to attend the seminar on ‘Groundwater management for sustainable drinking water supply, the Danish concept’. Two months ago, I visited Denmark, and had fruitful conversations with Danish colleagues. I know very well the Danish concept, with which you are already in the leading position in the world in the field of groundwater management. On behalf of the Ministry of Water Resources of China，I would like to take this opportunity to express my warm congratulation on the opening of this seminar.
In the new century, at many top world events like the Johannesburg Summit and the World Water Forums, water has been addressed as the paramount issue concerning sustainable development. As a part of water resources, groundwater plays a significant role for water supply, food security as well as economic and social development. On the one hand, we enjoy the benefit that groundwater brings to us. On the other hand, the over-exploration of groundwater triggers many environmental and ecological problems which are drawing extensive attention from the world community.
The Chinese government pays great attention to the various issues related to groundwater management. As an indispensable source of water supply, groundwater has made great contribution to the development of China. The annual groundwater supply has reached 109 billion m3, accounting for 18.4% of total water supplied. In particular, groundwater takes a proportion of 1/3 of water supply in northern China. Out of 660 cities in China, over 400 cities are taking groundwater as their major supply source. Nevertheless, the conservation and protection of groundwater relatively falls behind, causing ecological and environmental problems such as land subsidence, sea water intrusion and desertification.
In recent years, we have strengthened groundwater management in different ways. Firstly, we have completed the integrated water resources plan, based on which, we get a clear picture on how much groundwater we have, and how much can be used. Secondly, we have formulated the policies on groundwater development and protection. For example, we have enhanced the water resources verification systems for every civil project, and strengthened the water permit management. Thirdly, we have enacted the policies to protect the areas where groundwater is over-exploited. We have identified 16 provinces and regions where exploitation of groundwater is limited or even prohibited. Fourthly, for the areas where groundwater is defined as the source of drinking water, special measures are taken to prevent groundwater from contamination. Last but not least, we have also established the groundwater monitoring network to ensure the proper use of the aquifers.
However, we are fully aware that China is still a developing country in a rapid process of industrialization and urbanization. We are bearing multiple pressures of developing economy, improving people’s living standard, conserving resources and protecting the environment. Considering the reality of China and availability of our resources, we have no other choice but to adhere to the basic national policy of resource conservation and environment protection, under the guidance of Scientific Outlook of Development. Water resources must be developed in a more rational manner and with higher efficiency. For this purpose, China is at the moment practicing the most stringent water management policy and also pushing hard to establish a water-saving society so as to resolve water problems emerged in China’s development. Particularly, the above-mentioned policies will be applied in groundwater management in order to maintain its sustainability. Meanwhile, we have started the legislative work for groundwater management and will strengthen groundwater technological specifications.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Sustainable use of water resources is the most important common challenge to all countries in the world. We will give high consideration to the international cooperation on water resources, especially on groundwater management. In June of this year, Ministry of Water Resources of China and Ministry of Environment of Denmark signed an MOU on cooperation in the field of water resources. In the MOU, we highlighted major cooperation areas, including sustainable use and protection of groundwater. We all know Denmark has successful experiences and advanced technologies in the aspect of groundwater management. I am delighted to see more and more exchanges between institutions and enterprises of our two countries. I sincerely hope that we could seize this great opportunity to deepen existing cooperation and explore further coordination potential so as to benefit our people and the development of our two nations.
Finally, I wish this seminar a great success.
Thank you for your attention.