The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US $100m loan to improve water resources and the environment of the Sayu River Basin in Yunnan Province, China. The Sayu River Basin in Yunnan is an important area for ecological protection in the upper Yangtze River Basin. It is the only centralized drinking water source in Zhaotong City in Yunnan.’
The project will strengthen wastewater management and pollution control in the river basin and improve water resources management in the Sayu River. It will also establish an eco-compensation mechanism for the Sayu River Basin and strengthen education, capacity, and public awareness for water pollution management.
Integrated water pollution management
ADB will finance integrated water pollution management, including innovations such as distributed wastewater management systems with information technology for low-cost operation and management; garbage facilities with a shorter processing cycle, smaller floor space, and maximum volume reduction. It will also pilot eco-villages with community participation; new types of artificial wetlands; quantifiable soil and water conservation model; low-emission agriculture; river protection with innovative information technology and institutional development; horizontal eco-compensation mechanisms; and an eco-compensation fund.
Experience and knowledge gained from the project will be replicated in other small tributaries in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, which account for 80% of wastewater, and in other key river basins in Asia and the Pacific. The Yangtze River Economic Belt has been earmarked as one of three key growth engines to ensure the PRC’s future economic development.
According to ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist Yoshiaki Kobayashi, rural domestic wastewater, solid waste, and human and animal waste pollute the water in the Sayu River Basin because of inadequate waste management. “As Zhaotong is considered a poor city, it urgently needs a sustainable financing mechanism for investments to address water pollution sustainably,” he said.
Total project cost is US $234.61m, of which US $134.61m is provided by the Chinese government. The project is expected to be completed by June 2026.