ADB approves loan to protect China's Yangtze River
The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) said on Tuesday that it has approved a 150-million-U.S. dollar loan to protect a water basin of the Yangtze River.
The ADB said the loan for a complementary set of initiatives to improve flood management, clean water supplies, and ecological conservation in the Longxi River watershed is a key project under ADB's new Yangtze River Economic Belt Framework.
The Manila-based bank said the framework will provide around 2 billion U.S. dollars over 2018 to 2020 to support the twin issues of economic and environmental development in the upper and middle reaches of the river.
It supports the Chinese government's focus on development along the Yangtze River and continues ADB's longstanding work in the area, the ADB said.
"This project marks a new coordinated approach to managing the overlapping issues of floods, water quality, and the ecosystem that could be replicated throughout (China) and, indeed, elsewhere," said Senior Water Resources Specialist in ADB's East Asia Department Rabindra Osti.
"The Longxi River watershed has suffered from some of the worst floods in Chongqing municipality and only by addressing the issues together, can we make the region safer and more prosperous over the long term," Osti added.
According to the ADB, the Chongqing Longxi River Basin Integrated Flood and Environmental Risk Management Project will finance flood mitigation and preparedness measures including building ecological embankments, emergency shelters and access roads.
"It will also install waste water management and water pollution control measures, as well as restore wetlands and landscaping alongside rivers and lakes. Importantly, each measure contributes to all three goals of managing floods, water quality, and the ecosystem," the ADB said.
In addition, the ADB said the project incorporates a set of new non-structural measures so the local authorities are better prepared to simultaneously tackle the three goals.
Among them, the ADB said the project will help the municipal government to draw up a Longxi River flood and environmental risk management plan and develop a flood and environmental risk footprint and accountability mechanism.
"A river health monitoring system will provide real-time feedback to municipality staff -- a 'river chief' -- who will be responsible for tracking the well-being of the river basin. Local communities will also get help to implement solid waste management and early flood warning systems," the ADB said.
The ADB said the measures applied through this project can be replicated in other similar watersheds along the Yangtze River Basin and in other countries in the Asia and Pacific region.
ADB's loan will be supplemented with 228.67 million U.S. dollars in funding from district and county governments in the project area in southwestern China.
The project is part of ADB's support to the Chinese government to help build inclusive and sustainable growth along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, an area encompassing nine provinces and two municipalities flanking the China's longest river.