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Beijing ‘river chiefs’ help protect Miyun waterways

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-13 17:00
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Beijing’s Miyun district has implemented a strict “river chief” system to better preserve the water quality and quantity in its 63 rivers.

The central government will introduce river chiefs — local officials charged with protecting waterways in their areas — nationwide by the end of 2018. The system is aimed at improving coordination among government departments.

Miyun appointed more than 300 river chiefs at district, town and village level in July. It also has over 600 river inspectors, who are residents employed full or part time to patrol the rivers.

The district said it has established 10 management objectives, including removing all garbage and other debris along water courses, while farming and tourism activities have been banned. It has also created a mechanism to evaluate the work of river chiefs.

Jiayu village lies upstream of Baihe River, which flows 25 kilometers within the district and is a main tributary of Miyun Reservoir, Beijing’s largest source of drinking water.

The village boasts pleasant scenery that attracts tourists for barbecues and other fun activities, according to Guo Yuchun, the village head and its river chief.

“Many villagers who used to make a living from the tourism industry have become river inspectors,” Guo said. “People are starting to understand the importance of water preservation.”

Wang Wenhai, a 69-year-old villager, is now a river inspector. “My job is to patrol the river and prevent people from getting over fences around the water,” he said.

The volume of Miyun Reservoir hit a 17-year high of 1.9 billion cubic meters on Monday, according to the district government.

The level was an increase of 0.43 billion cu m compared with the same period last year, and the water quality now meets the Level II national standard year-round, the authority said.

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