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The global consultancy Black & Veatch began work on a consultancy services contract for a major flood control project in the Songhua River Basin in China on 13 June.

Jun 1st, 2005

B&V begins flood management project in China

The global consultancy Black & Veatch began work on a consultancy services contract for a major flood control project in the Songhua River Basin in China on 13 June. The Songhua River Flood Management Sector Project will reduce flood damage by improving integrated river basin management and flood protection. Black & Veatch is providing consultancy advice and services in procuring equipment for a proposed flood management system; construction management; economic benefit analysis; environmental impact assessment; social impact assessment; and assisting with the strengthening of existing flood management regulations. The project is scheduled for completion in 2007. The Songhua River Basin is the third largest river basin in China comprising an area of 557,000 km2 and a population of 62 million people. Heavy flooding hit the region in 1998, which severely affected urban and rural areas including the city of Harbin, the political, economic and cultural centre of Heilongjiang Province. The floods caused loss of life and damage equivalent to US$ 5.8 billion, significantly raising the poverty level in the area. The project will heighten and reinforce 540 km of flood control dikes in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; risk eliminating and dike reinforcing of five reservoirs that have a combined storage capacity of 305 million m3; and construction of one dual-directional gate. Capacity building and project management tasks include strengthening the social and environmental functions of the Project Management Offices in three provinces to assist them with conducting initial environmental impact assessments, environmental management, and resettlement planning for follow-on investments financed under an ADB loan. The Songliao Water Resources Commission located in Changchun, Jilin Province, will execute the project.

IFAT China 2006 promotes networking

The Second IFAT China will present practical solutions in the areas of water supply, sewage, refuse, recycling, air pollution control, environmental technology and environmentally compatible energy. The Shangai New International Expo Centre, located in the business Mecca of Shanghai, offers exhibitors and trade visitors a locational advantage. Numerous trade visitors are expected, particularly from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Its Chinese partner, the China Association of Resources Comprehensive Utilisation (CARCU), helped the organising company Messe München GmbH of Germany adapt its IFAT approach in Munich to the Chinese market. The conference programme includes lectures and workshops on the topic of water supply, wastewater disposal, sewage treatment, alternative energy sources and waste disposal. In addition, the programme includes "B2B Matchmaking on Innovation and Environment," a communication and networking platform for Chinese and international business partners. For more information, visit: www.ifat-china.com.

Water management project supports Chinese reforms

Mott MacDonald was awarded the DFID-funded Water Resource Demand Management Assistance Project (WRDMAP) to be implemented by the Chinese government through the Ministry of Water Resources. The project supports the reforms required by the 2002 Chinese Water Law, which was enacted to improve livelihoods through equitable access to and sustainable use of water resources, particularly for poorer people. Water scarcity combined with over-exploitation of available resources threatens China's sustainable development. Rapid economic growth has led to over-commitment of available surface water resources, overdraft of groundwater resources in many areas and unreliable access to water - all affecting the livelihoods of many particularly rural and poor people and especially in northern China. Mott MacDonald, with support services from international associates, local consultants and institutes, will provide advisory services including institutional strengthening, promoting awareness programmes and the introduction of improved systems for water resources management and water demand management. Integrated water resources management, river basin management, demand management and the creation of examples of water saving society will be key elements of the project. The US$ 11 million project will involve developing and implementing pilot studies for the first three years in the two target provinces of Gansu and Liaoning, with the results and water resources management improvements generated over this time being reformulated for broader dissemination, both within the two provinces and also throughout China during the remainder of the project. The project will be completed in 2010.

Dam project to solve siltation problems downriver

The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) will begin a US$ 92-million multipurpose dam project at Balpahari in Jharkhand, India, that will reduce siltation problems at the dam at Maithon, increase canal irrigation and hydroelectric generation capacity by 20MW from the current 144 MW. The project will be located on the Barakar river, which forms the boundary between West Bengal and Jharkhand, downstream from the Tilaiya Barrage. DVC owns a network of four major dams at Maithon, Panchet, Tilya and Konar and a barrage at Durgapur with the capacity to moderate peak floods. Built with the twin objective of harnessing water resources and preventing flooding in the Damodar Valley region in the monsoon, the entire dam system is now exposed to serious siltation problems caused by large-scale deforestation in the upper valley region.

Field notes:

Afghanistan: A cholera epidemic may spread throughout the capital city of Kabul and threaten its four million residents. More than 2,000 cases of the disease and eight deaths have been reported in recent weeks, according to a US Agency for International Development (AID) official, who expects an epidemic to break out soon. City residents depend upon water wells and irrigation ditches for most drinking water; cholera has been detected in many wells in the city. The Health Ministry claims that the outbreak was contained. In 2003, the government chlorinated the wells to stop the last cholera outbreak when 7,000 people were infected, which quickly stopped the disease.

China:

The nation's booming economy is polluting water supplies throughout the crowded cities of China, that water supplies may be inadequate, according to a report in the China Daily newspaper. "More than 100 of China's 660 cities face "extreme water shortages," said the Deputy Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing. Intense demand by rapidly-growing industries, agriculture and urban areas, is consuming more drinking water supplies than its water resources can provide, leaving many without clean water. The booming economy has also damaged the environment; municipalities and industries still discharge untreated wastewater into surface waters. The government has imposed water quality standards, promoted conservation, built treatment plants throughout the country, closed heavily polluting industries, but its efforts have had only limited success. Ninety percent of China's cities and 75% of its lakes are polluted to some degree, Qiu reported. Hong Kong: Arc Energy Resources shipped 17 Hydro-Brake(r) Flow Controls for the UK-based Hydro International. The order, which Hydro received from consulting engineers Scott Wilson, was completed to a tight deadline for a major stormwater drainage project for the Jordan Valley area. Hydro-Brake flow controls harness the energy inherent in the flow of liquid, so the units have no moving parts and no external energy requirements. The flow controls will be used to drain stormwater from roads and hard tarmac areas. (Website: www.arcenergy.co.uk)

Sri Lanka:

Quentin Rea, a water and wastewater engineer with the UK consultancy Mott MacDonald, completed a three-month assignment in late April 2005 working for Oxfam on the east coast of Sri Lanka, which was devastated by the Asian tsunami. The Oxfam programme, based in Batticaloa and four other centres, involved working with local people to restore their communities and livelihoods. Quentin was working on sanitary systems and water supply for settlements established to house people until areas are identified for permanent re-housing. A new water treatment plant was also developed on the Verugal River to supplement water wells being used to supply the settlements, which are beginning to show signs of over-use as water levels fall steadily. The plant is capable of producing 12 000 litres of drinking water per day, which will be expanded to 50,000 litres, enough drinking water for 5,000 people. A second plant will be established using water from an irrigation reservoir. The treatment plants use a state-of-the-art membrane filter to remove virtually all suspended matter - converting cloudy river water to clear drinking water. The treated water is chlorinated to ensure that it cannot carry any pathogens to consumers. In common with other agencies working in Sri Lanka, Quentin also developed a well cleaning programme for those communities able to quickly return to their original homes. The well cleaning team pumped out contaminated salty water and then removed accumulated sludge and other debris from the wells. The fresh underground water reserves that feed the wells was contaminated with salt water by the tsunami, but is now recovering naturally over time.

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