chapter  3
20 Pages

China’s Legal System for Water Management: Basic Challenges and Policy Recommendations

WithPeng Shugang

Ever since the opening and reform policy was adopted by the ruling party in 1978, China

has achieved an average 10% annual gross domestic product growth for three decades,

against the backdrop of decreasing per capita water quantity and deteriorating water

quality. Water, as one of the most essential natural resources for human survival and

development, is a case in point on denoting how natural resources have been over-

exploited in an unsustainable way in China. This paper reviews the whole evolution

process of China’s water policy formulation during the period 1978-2008 from three

perspectives: the water management system, water quantity management, and water

quality management. It starts with a description of the status quo and policy response from

the legislature and the government, followed by policy recommendations based on

diagnostic analysis of the loopholes in the water management legal system.