Mar. 23, 2023

Hebei residents negotiate compensation for water diversion

In December 2011, Hebei successfully negotiated with Beijing to get the capital to pay compensation to residents living by the lower reaches of the Juma River. Earlier last year, Beijing declined Hebei’s request for an annual compensation of 60 million yuan (around 9.5 million USD). This time, Beijing agreed to provide compensation, although the amount has yet to be announced.

Since 2004, Beijing has diverted water away from the Juma River in surrounding Hebei Province which is also faced with severe water shortages. (Water supplies are Beijing: 100 m3 per capita, Hebei: 193 m3 per capita, international standard: 1000 m3 per capita.) Excessive water diversion has exacerbated water shortages in Hebei, threatening the ecological environment along the river and provoking angry backlash from local residents.

The main stream of the Juma river is 254 kilometers long and runs from western Hebei to southwestern Beijing.

What worries the Chinese is not just water shortage but also the lack of effective governance of water resources, says Tang Liming, a researcher with the Chinese think tank Anbound. China usually manages water through different government departments and administrative units. For instance with water, environmental authorities manage quality, water supplies departments manage quantity, and geological departments manage groundwater. In contrast, many cities in the West allocate resources without the interference of administrative borders. For example, the whole Thames Valley is in the charge of a management bureau, which exerts greater control over water resources. in China the lack of comprehensive management may lead to buck passing and conflicting attitudes among different departments and provinces.

[Source: Beijing News, Hebei Economic Network]

Translated and summarized by Tong Jun

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