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Water & Wastewater >> China

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Insights and Opportunities

Water & Wastewater Treatment Sector


Overview: China continues to face severe water pollution and water scarcity problems. According to the “2007 Report on the State of the Environment in China” issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on June 5, 2008, China generated 55.6 billion tons of wastewater, with municipal wastewater 31 billion tons and industrial wastewater 24.6 billion tons, accounting for 56% and 44% respectively. Though both dropping slightly from the previous year, the generation of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and NH4 are still 13.8 million tons and 1.3 million tons respectively.

It is expected that total wastewater will continue growing due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, to reach 64 billion tons in 2010. The current wastewater treatment infrastructure is far from adequate. As of late 2008, 194 cities and 80% of counties in China do not have any wastewater treatment facilities. Rural area wastewater treatment is virtually non-existent.

China’s water situation has been an important issue on two fronts - water pollution and water availability. One third of China’s river courses, lakes, and coastal areas are severely contaminated as a result of municipal, industrial and agricultural discharge. Over 17,000 counties and towns have no wastewater treatment plants, and nearly 300 million people are currently drinking contaminated water. In addition, China has very low water resources per capita (one quarter of the world average), and they are unevenly distributed (e.g. one tenth in northern and western areas).

Opportunities: On November 9, 2008 the Chinese government, in order to shore up the weakening Chinese economy, unveiled a USD 585 billion Economic Stimulus Plan.

In this aggressive plan, water and wastewater treatment spans two categories: rural development and infrastructure project (USD 54 billion) and ecological environment (USD 51 billion). Water-related projects in these two categories will include rural area water safety projects, urban wastewater treatment, key water body pollution control and ecological environment protection.

Building a water-saving society and treating water pollution are major goals of the Chinese government within the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010). By 2010, China aims to provide safe drinking water to 100 million residents, and treat more than 60% of sewage, up from the current 56% (2007 figure). In order to meet the goals, 1,000 new WWTPs (representing investment of USD 48 billion) are planned to be constructed by 2010, raising total daily treatment capacity to 10,000 tons. China has begun to levy sewage treatment fees and is spreading the practice throughout the country, with aims to decrease the total volume of primary pollutants by 10% by 2010.

However, implementation of the plan seems to be behind schedule. The year 2007 was the first year to witness the decrease of two primary pollutants COD and SO2, making it a difficult task for the country to achieve the 10% target within the remaining three years.

Opportunities are concentrated in the following technology and associated technology transfer needs and product demand will provide the most opportunities: Biological de-nitrification and phosphorus removal technologies, sludge treatment; Membrane separation and manufacturing technologies and equipment; Manufacturing technology of anaerobic biological reactor; High concentration organic wastewater treatment technology and equipment; Series-standard water and wastewater treatment equipment family with high efficiency; Water saving technologies and equipment; Water treatment agents; Water and wastewater treatment facility operation and management service; Natural water body rehabilitation technology; and Sea water desalinization.




  2012 3rd International Conference on Environmental Science and Development (ICESD 2012)