The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $150 million for a project to raise living standards in Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province, through a project that will address flood and environmental risks.
“Xinyu City, a new industrial city of 1.17 million inhabitants, is situated on the Kongmu River watershed in the Yangtze River Basin, which is prone to floods causing damage averaging $54 million annually,” said Rabindra Osti, an ADB Water Resources Specialist. “The ADB project will address the causes, shore up defenses, improve planning, and overhaul the management of wastewater and solid waste, to benefit a current and future population of 300,000 by 2030. It is expected to help establish new benchmarks for investment in flood management in the basin and beyond.”
The project covers three townships — Guanchao, Ouli, and Xiacun, and Yushui District within Xinyu City. The upper Kongmu River watershed contains 35 villages housing more than 109,500 people, of whom 55,700 live in river corridors in the project area. Most lack access to modern wastewater and solid waste facilities, leading to water pollution and exacerbating the flooding, according to ADB.
The existing sewer and stormwater pipeline are under capacity for the level of floods the city faces. Between 2001 and 2016, there were eight severe floods with the worst in 2010 forcing 78,000 people to evacuate. It destroyed more than 4,000 homes and caused $116 million in direct economic damage. More recently, the Yangtze River basin particularly small watersheds in the basin suffered from serious floods in July 2016.
The project will improve the city environment by increasing flood water retention in the upper Kongmu River watershed through a combination of stormwater management, such as rainwater retention, regulation of small lakes, and flood protection measures along the river.
It will also construct a wastewater collection network separate from the stormwater collection network and reduce sewerage overflows to improve water quality. These will cut the quantity of solid waste flowing into the waterways. The project will also create wetlands in lakes, canals, and the Kongmu River to treat stormwater runoff and improve water quality.
As part of the project, the local authorities will be assisted in their land-use plans and building regulations, floodproofing and other contingency plans, as well as climate change monitoring and water quality monitoring. The development of a river basin model will aid river basin planning.
A special feature of the project is the adoption of integrated flood-resilient planning to maximize flood control and improve the environment with due consideration of upstream-downstream linkages and rural-urban integration. This includes innovative structural measures such as levees, underground stormwater storage, interconnected flood storage lakes, and sponge city construction, where the design approach is to absorb rainfall and reduce surface runoff and reuse it in ecofriendly ways.
The total cost of the project is about $300 million, of which the Xinyu city government will contribute more than $150 million.