China to assess local officials' performance based on water conservation efforts

09:23, January 20, 2011      

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Seven Chinese cities and provinces, including the national capital Beijing, will take local officials' water conservation efforts into account when assessing their work performance s in a bid to enhance the enforcement of water management measures.

The Ministry of Water Resources has selected seven pilot areas nationwide and asked them to set warning lines for the quantity of water consumption, efficiency of water use and water pollution levels, Bi Xiaogang, spokesman of the Beijing Water Authority, told Xinhua on the sideline of the ongoing annual session of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the local legislative body.

"The officials will be held accountable if they fail to keep any of the three indexes under the warning line, and their annual work performance assessments will also be affected," Bi said.

The measures might be included in this year's No. 1 central document, or the first document issued by the central committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council every year, he said.

"It was highly feasible to introduce strict indexes in water management, and associate it with officials' work performance assessments, as it could put an end to sluggish enforcement of regulations," said Zhu Jianyue, a member of the municipal people' s congress.

The municipal government would begin formulating the specific criteria of the warning lines in March, and the regulation was expected to be enacted by June, Bi said.

He speculated that in the future, the government would draw lessons from its experience on fulfilling the five-year energy-saving and emission reduction goal to manage the country's water resources.

In that way, the central government would set water conservation targets for municipalities and provinces, which would subdivide their targets to lower levels of governments, he said, adding whether the local government could meet their targets would be seen as a gauge of their performance evaluation.

By then end of 2011, China had basically fulfilled its goals of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by around 20 percent and reducing total pollutant emissions by 10 percent from 2005 levels.

In China, the per capita amount of water resources is merely one-quarter of the world's average, while the water consumption per 10,000 yuan (about 1,519 U.S. dollars) of GDP is about a dozen times that of developed countries.

"The severe water shortages have become a major bottleneck to our sustainable development. Nearly two-thirds of the cities in China lack water," said Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources.

From 2011 to 2015, China will strive to limit its annual water consumption within 620 billion cubic meters and cut water consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP by 30 percent.

Source:Xinhua

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