Address at Press Conference of News Office of the State Council
It s a great honor to be here with all of you and thank you very much for your attention and support to the Yellow River. Now I d like to deliver a brief introduction about the background concerned in constituting of Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating .
Premier Wen Jiabao subscribed Decree No. 472 on July 20, 2006, promulgating Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating that will be put into effect as of August 1, 2006. This is the first administrative regulation in terms of Yellow River management in the country. The promulgation of the regulations has two important meanings: 1) As for the Yellow River, the fundamental rules of water allocation in Water Law of the People s Republic of China can be carried out concretely at legal level, and a long-run mechanism for water allocation of the river has been established, which has enormously promoted optimal distribution of the limited water resources of the river, enhanced utilization efficiency, alleviated the conflict between water demand and supply and the existing problems in terms of water allocation, correctly dealt with the relations between upstream and downstream, left and right banks, regions and departments, unified coordinated economic and social development and eco-environmental protection along the river, mitigated and removed the serious results arising from flow depletion of the river.
2) For the whole country, the regulation is the first water management and allocation rule for river basins, which can provide valuable experiences for other river basins for reference and has a representative function. Pursuant to the target of building a resources conserving and environment friendly society, it is of great importance in realizing of the economization, high efficiency and sustainable utilization of water resources all over the country.
The Yellow River, the second largest river in China, is the most important water source in the northwestern and northern China and offers critical strategic guarantee for sustainable development of economy and society in the basin and relevant areas. However, the water resources of the river features such outstanding characteristics as water scarcity, significant yearly runoff variation, uneven temporal and spatial distribution of runoff and water demand.
The water resources of the river only occupies 2% of China, but shoulders a heavy task of supply water to about 0.14 billion people (accounting for 12% of the country), 0.24 billion mu farmland (totaling about 15%), more than 50 large and medium sized municipalities, major energy bases and heavy chemical industry, as well as Zhongyuan and Shengli oil fields.
In the 1990s, yearly average water consumption of Yellow River is 30.7 billion m3, which accounts for 53% of average annual runoff and over 60% of inflow of the same period. Due to contradiction of supply and demand, excessive development and irrational utilization of Yellow River water resources, in addition, the previous laws and regulations of water allocation being unable to meet the need of water allocation of the special situation of the Yellow River, zero flow occurred in the lower reach of the Yellow River in 21 years out of 27 years from 1972 to 1999, which added up 1091 days and affected severely the socio- economic development of the lower Yellow River and attached much attentions from home and abroad.
However, integrated water resources management of the Yellow River began to be carried out since 1999, a dry year of Yellow River, Up to now, no zero flow has occurred in 7 years successively, which achieves better economic, social and ecological benefits and plays an important role in promoting the sustainable socio-economic development in the river basin.
In order to legalize and systemize the successful experience of Yellow River water regulating, to ensure sound water allocation of the Yellow River by the laws, to minimize the adverse impact of Yellow River s drying up, through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Water Resources and State Development and Reform Committee, the Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating (preliminary draft) began to be drafted from 2003 and submitted to the State Council in September, 2004; through repeating revision and research of Law Office of the State Council, Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating (draft) was formed.
During the process of making of Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating, seven departments of the State Council, 11 provinces/ autonomous regions/municipality in the Yellow River Basin and water supply area were consulted for comments for 4 times and panel review were held for many times. It was deliberated and approved in principle in the 142nd standing conference of the State Council on July 5, 2006.
The would-be-enforced Regulation includes 7 chapters, 43 articles. The main content are: applicable scope of the Yellow River water resources management, management principle, management administration system, principle and procedure of the Yellow River water allocation and adjustment, Yellow River water allocation manner, management procedure, responsiblities and control measures, management procedure and measure in emergency, type, measure and procedure of supervising and administration, legal liability, etc.
The hardcopy of Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating and background information were provided fro your reference.
In the end, I would like to emphasize that the promulgation and enforcement of Regulations of Yellow River Water Regulating are the main sign of further strengthening water resources management and promoting the sustainable utilization legalization of the Yellow River water resources of China, which would make active contribution to the construction of water-saving society and water and human living in harmony.
Thank you all, it s my great pleasure to answer your questions now.