China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, September 11, 2006

Forum explores to solve water woes

By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-11 05:16

Overseas investment is welcome in the water sector, which will be opened up further, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said yesterday.

"We'll continue to encourage overseas capital to invest in water conservation, sewage treatment, waste water recycling and other projects," Zeng told the Fifth World Water Congress on its opening day in Beijing.

In addition, domestic enterprises are urged to introduce advanced water treatment technology and management experience.

Held in Asia for the first time, the congress, which ends on Thursday, is sponsored by the International Water Association (IWA) and the Ministry of Construction to discuss issues on both local and global scales.

Minister of Construction Wang Guangtao told the gathering that as one of the world's fastest developing economies, China faces mounting pressure in water supply and pollution.

The country uses 7 per cent of global fresh water resources to support 21 per cent of world's population.

IWA Vice-President David Garman said that by holding the biennial congress, China could take a step forward in adopting advanced international technology in water treatment and management.

Antoine Frerot, chief executive officer of Veolia Water, said the robust policies China has adopted to open up its water sector are attracting more and more transnational companies to the Chinese market.

The world's leading water services company invested 470 million euros (US$597 million) in China last year; and this year, it has clinched two agreements bringing the total number of its projects to 19 in the country, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Vice-Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing told a press conference that China represents the world's largest water market; and although short-term profitability is not high, long-term prospects are rosy.

He also said that tariffs would not be raised dramatically to help resolve urban water problems. In China, tap water is priced at 20 per cent of its cost.

At least 3,000 professionals, including scientists, regulators and utilities' representatives from more than 90 countries and regions are participating in the congress

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