Business / Industries

China opens floodgates

By LIU JIA (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-27 10:21

With a greater emphasis on conserving water, the nation is looking to foreign firms with innovative environmental solutions

Along with its pursuits of industrialization, urbanization, informationization and agricultural modernization, China is also seeking to ensure that its economic growth and living standards are environmentally sound.

President Xi Jinping highlighted the national concept last month as the country weighs its environmental burden in planning for the next five years-the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), a crucial period in its economic transition. The plan will be unveiled in about a year.

Chief among the leadership's concerns are water pollution and scarcity. WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, says China faces severe water problems that include floods, water shortages, pollution, soil erosion, deterioration of freshwater ecosystems, fragmentation and loss of freshwater biodiversity, a low utilization rate of water resources and the overdevelopment of water resources.

In Beijing, an official at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said the State Council recently approved a water pollution control plan-referred to by the official as the"10 provisions"-and will be implementing the plan soon.

The plan is among the many solutions Chinese policymakers are reportedly seeking to eliminate the loss of water resources, cut down on groundwater depletion, safeguard drinking water, prevent and control water pollution-especially in agricultural production-make sewage disposal and wastewater treatment efficient and promote the reuse of water.

Totaling 2 trillion yuan ($320 billion) in investments, according to the ministry official, the action plan is expected to be the backbone of the strictest environmental protection system that Chinese authorities have ever had.

Liu Zhiquan, deputy director general of Department of Technology Standards at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, predicts growth in the water environment service industry is likely to expand by up to 40 percent and that demand for water protection products and facilities may grow by up to 20 percent over the next five years.

Many of the water application products could come from leading global businesses creating sustainable technologies and innovative environmental solutions.

Denmark, one of the first countries in the world to impose rigorous environmental protection laws, is leading the way with its water control measures.

Finn Mortensen, executive director at State of Green, the official green brand for Denmark, said: "Denmark has a significant knowledge of water technology. We sincerely hope our capabilities can be of good help in China."

Mads Warming, global segment director for water and wastewater of Danfoss, a global producer of sustainable components and solutions in Denmark, said his company has been active in China for 20 years.

"China is our third-largest market and is also our biggest sourcing market. We have production plants in Wuqing in Tianjin, Anshan in Liaoning province and Haiyan in Zhejiang province," Warming said.

About 240 kilometers away from Beijing, Danfoss' desalination plant in Caofeidian has been in operation since 2012 and is capable of producing up to 50,000 cubic meter of clean drinking water a day.

The eco-friendly plant is what Danfoss sees as a model for "green desalination" in China.

Another Danish company that is highly reputable in the field of water pumps and advanced water technologies is Grundfos.

"Since our entrance into the Chinese market in the 1990s, China has been a very important part of our global presence," said Frank Bisgaard Winther, a spokesman for Grundfos.

Grundfos China signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Chinese Mayors in November "for better participation in China's urbanization process", and Grundfos' water engineers recently introduced a new system for treating water at Herlev Hospital in Denmark.

Jose Antonio Gil Linares, application specialist at Grundfos who is also the chief designer of the new system, called BioBooster, said the innovation proves decentralized wastewater treatment can effectively get rid of pharmaceutical by-products as well as remove other pollutants contained in hospital wastewater such as organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, etc.

Waterworks throughout Denmark, a country renowned for its groundwater quality, where the tap water can be drunk without any disinfection, are looking forward to establishing more links with China.

Allan Jensen, chief operation specialist of Hasselager-Kolt Waterworks, said they want to export more of its water supply solutions to China.

"Our systems are in service at different regions of China. The factory in Jinan, Shandong province, is providing high-quality drinking water for more than 50,000 inhabitants there."

Anders Lnggaard-Jensen, head of innovation and urban water of DHI, said it will work with the Harbin authorities to build a metering station to test the quality of the city's drinking water.

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