Yellow River Water Allocation Plan of 2016

The Yellow River runs through nine provinces in China: Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Henan and Shandong. The provinces have a common problem of water shortage that leads to water use disputes. For better cooperation between the provinces, the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) makes the annual water allocation plans, water controlling scheme and a real-time water control.

Under the Water and Climate Programme of GWP China, GWP China Yellow River has coordinated relationship between related governmental agencies for their transboundary cooperation. From 2014 to 2016, through the activities, GWP China Yellow River identified issues, developed solutions and monitored and moved forward cooperation mechanism. It has supported the annual water allocation plans of the Yellow River in a scientific and rational manner.

Jointly with the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) and local river basin administrations, GWP China Yellow River has organized diverse on-site surveys and thematic sessions for achieving collaboration of water sector of 9 provinces, making fairly equal use of water of the related provinces. In 2015, GWP China Yellow River promoted the IWRM and water security management tools into the annual allocation plans through on-site survey and workshop. The activities were highly appreciated by participants and attracted more sectors into the loop. Further in 2016, GWP China Yellow River added ecological concept into the annual water allocation and water management. It organized investigation activities of related provincial water authorities in source zones of the Yellow River. Owing to global warming, the glaciers and snow in source zones have shrunk, directly affecting the plateau lakes and wetland water supply. The areas of some lakes and wetlands were reduced and even disappeared, leading the ecological environment very fragile. And the increase of population and human production activities has also intensified the deterioration of ecological environment, the degradation and desertification of grassland and the decrease of water conservation function. The on-site studies reflected stakeholders an alarming fact of underestimating the impact of climate change. The ecological degradation in source zones, e.g. water and soil erosion, shrinking glaciers, permafrost degradation of water, etc., alerted them to pay more attention to ecological protection for river basin management. The annual water allocation plans adopted the ecological demand of water. Upon the cooperation between GWP China Yellow River, the YRCC and other research institutions, the   ‘big water data’ and ‘hydrological data acquisition and situation of source zones’ was introduced into the comprehensive governance of the Yellow River.

Photo is provided by Baohua DONG