A legislator urged Friday a law to protect China's second longest river, the Yellow River, referring to the acute shortage of water resources and deteriorating water quality and ecological environment along the valley.
"A law on the Yellow River would provide a legal basis to balance the interests of localities and government departments on both the upper and lower reaches and both sides of the river, thus helping resolve problems concerning the harnessing, development and protection of the river," said Li Guoying, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature.
"It's an urgent job to formulate the law to regulate our efforts to develop and harness the river," said Li, who heads the Yellow River Conservancy Commission, a state agency exercising the administrative power over water resources along the valley and related affairs.
According to him, the law he proposed should focus on the shortage of water resources, the grave situation in flood control, increasing water pollution and poor efforts in erosion control.
Originating from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, northwest China, the 5,464-kilometer Yellow River runs through nine provinces and autonomous regions and enter the Bohai Sea in north China, forming a valley of 752,000 square kilometers and watering 12 percent of China's 1.3 billion population and 15 percent of farmland.
However, excessive development has resulted in serious shortage of water resources, Li said, adding, "The water resources development and utilization rate along the Yellow River valley is as high as 70 percent, much higher than the internationally recognized warning level of 40 percent."
Moreover, due to lack of effective measures to deal with the rich silt carried by the river and the excessive water tapping for agricultural and industrial production, the river bed on the lower reaches shrinks remarkably, adding great difficulties to flood control, the expert said.
The proposed law should also have provisions on the control of pollutants and preservation of the local ecosystem, he said.