Protecting watersheds for sustainable drinking water

Dongjiang Watershed

Project title: Eco-Longmen, living Dongjiang: protecting watersheds for sustainable drinking water

Location:  Dongjiang River, China

Duration: 2013 – 2016

Project background: As one of the three major branches of the Pearl River, the Dongjiang River and its associated river basin represent a critical resource, supporting the economy and population of the Pearl Delta. The river basin provides water to more than 400 million people and six major cities including three economic hotspots Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Huizhou. It covers an area of 35,340 square kilometres and contributes 70% of total GDP in Guangdong province. The Dongjiang basin also supplies 80% of Hong Kong’s water requirements.

As has been seen in many parts of China, recent high levels of economic growth have also brought major environmental challenges to the area, resulting in serious degradation of the Dongjiang over the past 10 years. Significant discharge of sewage and industrial waste water has caused serious pollution, and the health of the entire watershed has been severely impacted, with corresponding reductions in quality and quantity of the water supplied.

To restore these critical but degraded watersheds, the watersheds protection project, implemented by IUCN in partnership with Danone Waters China and Fonds Danone Pour L’Ecosysteme, was developed.

Project partners will demonstrate how the private sector and an international conservation organisation can work together to solve a major environmental challenge – creating solutions that will benefit the people of the area, protect the natural ecosystems they depend on, and support the local and national economy.

Objectives of the project: The overarching objective of the project is to restore critical but degraded watersheds in Upper Dongjiang by 2017, empower local communities to create sustainable livelihood opportunities, maintain healthy ecosystem services and promote a supportive policy environment for sustainable watershed management, so as to provide multiple benefits to 20 million local and downstream residents.

Expected outputs:

  • Better protection, restoration and management of ecosystem
  • Reduced potential impact of communities on water
  • Improved socio-economics of stakeholders

Donors: EU-China Environmental Sustainability Programme (ESP); Danone Ecosystem Fund; and Danone Waters China

Partners: Danone Ecosystem Fund; Danone Waters China; Guangdong Academy of Forestry (GAF); and South China Agriculture University (SOAU)

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