Arid Cities in People's Republic of China to Improve Water Management

Sep 17, 2013

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), one of the poorest and most remote regions in northwestern People’s Republic of China (PRC), will use a $200 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve water availability through wastewater reuse and better water resources management.

"The project will show how improvements in water management can facilitate sustainable urban development even in cities with an adjacent desert location, and an arid and unfavorable climate," said Diwesh Sharan, Director at ADB’s East Asia Department.

Water is a critical concern for Kelamayi and Kuitun, two medium-sized cities in XUAR that receive as little as 100 millimeters of rain each year, with sub-zero temperatures from November to March. XUAR is predominantly a desert territory characterized by strong winds, low rainfall, and a high evaporation rate.

The project will directly benefit about 340,000 mostly ethnic minority residents in XUAR, where about 8%-10% of the population is poor. Project construction is also expected to generate jobs for the vulnerable groups including the poor, women, and ethnic minorities.

In Kelamayi city, the loan will help upgrade a wastewater treatment plant, build a wetland, construct wastewater reuse pipelines to supply water from the wetland for urban forestry and landscaping, build urban roads, and repair water supply pipelines to stop leakages.

In Kuitun city, the loan will help rehabilitate flood discharge ditches and channels, and improve water management, including repairing water supply pipes to reduce loss from leakage.

The project will promote balanced and environment-friendly urbanization, improve living conditions in the two cities, and play a demonstration role for cities with similar geographic and climatic conditions in XUAR and elsewhere.

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