The Zhangxi River: Water Quality Improvement Contributing to Public Well-being

By Jiao Fenghua, Wang Zhencai

Starting from the Jiaokou Reservoir in the region of Siming Mountain in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province, the 24.52-kilometer-long Zhangxi River winds its way through Zhangshui Town, Longguan Township, and villages of Pingshuitan, Shaojia and Zhongjiatan before splitting into two streams in Yinjiang Town. One of them is called Guangxi Stream (starting from Zhongjiatan), which flows a kilometer through the check gate at Hongshuiwan and enters the Nantang River. Another stream runs eastwards through the historic Tuoshan irrigation system and ends in the Fenghua River, one of the three major rivers in Ningbo.

Zhangxi River in Ningbo

In 2016, Zhangshui Town, where the Zhangxi River originated, took the lead in improving river water quality. Government funds were allocated for upgrading the river channel cleaning service. At the same time, local stream fish species like Acrossocheilus fasciatus have been cultivated and released as an effort to restore the ecological system of the Zhangxi River. “Water management is a systematic project and we must follow the law of nature,” emphasized Zhangshui government head. “We have been seeking solutions for improving the local river environment in the past few years. Thanks to the concerted efforts by the government, the private sector, and the public, the Zhangxi River has now taken on a new look.”

In recent years, Haishu District of Ningbo has made considerable achievements in improving water management through a series of campaigns including “clearing three rivers,” “upgrading rivers with Class Inferior V water quality,” “ending direct discharge of sewage,” the “beautiful rivers and lakes” project, and the clear water campaign. In April 2019, Haishu won for the first time the “Dayuding” award, highest honor of Zhejiang Province in water management. The successful improvement of water quality in the Yuehe Lake has been considered a model project in the province, and six river systems including the Yaojiang River (Haishu section), the Xitang River, the Nantang River (Haishu Section), the Xiyanggang River, the Zhangxi River, and the Zhaotianhang River have been named among Beautiful Rivers and Lakes. Since 2017, all samples from drinking water sources of Haishu have been graded qualified and all samples qualified in sectional water quality with 89 percent of them being rated excellent (of which 100 percent samples from provincial-level rivers are considered excellent), making Haisu District a leader in the city in this respect.

Haishu District is now striving for new goals in water management. A priority water control and livelihood project of the district government this year, the Yinjiang embankment is to be raised to meet higher standards and resist floods unseen in 20 years. Dam renovation project along the Zhangxi River is scheduled to be completed in 2023 as a new landmark along the local rural tourism route with unique riverside attractions. Vigorous efforts will also be made to construct new water supply networks covering the drinking water sources of 31 villages (communities) including Yinjiang Town, Zhangshui Town, and Longguan Township and benefiting 435 firms and 27,000 households in the district.

Clear waters and green mountains are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver. Riding the wave of comprehensive management of the Zhangxi River, a variety of industries with local features have emerged and delivered tangible results in ecological improvement.

The Zhangxi River has offered a vivid example of the environmental campaign for higher water quality as part of green development. With continued economic and social progress, greater achievements are surely to be made in improving the overall public well-being in the new era through sound water management and protection.

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