China to upgrade urban drainage systems [Xinhua]

BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) — A guideline for upgrading drainage systems in cities across the country has been developed, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said Saturday.

Frequent floods during periods of heavy rain, as well as public calls for updating poor drainage networks, prompted the creation of the guideline.

According to the guideline, drainage facilities in downtown areas in 36 large cities should be upgraded to handle heavy rain and prevent floods from occurring.

Schools and hospitals should be prioritized in flood prevention efforts, the guideline says.

If rainfall exceeds a given drainage network’s capacity, the city should still be able to operate normally and casualties, as well as losses of property, should be avoided, according to the guideline.

The ministry has required municipal authorities to compile drainage network construction plan based on the guideline and submit their plans before mid-2014.

The ministry also requires municipal authorities to submit reports regarding flooding, as well as casualties and economic losses caused by heavy rain, for the last ten years.

A heavy downpour that occurred in Beijing last July paralyzed the city, prompting the authorities to reflect on the poor drainage system.

Flooding is frequently reported in cities during the summer, as most drainage facilities are designed to handle smaller amounts of rain than has been received in recent years.

A ministry report showed that 62 percent of 351 surveyed cities experienced flooding between 2008 and 2010.

Liu Quanle, an associate professor at the Economic Management Institute at the Hebei University of Science and Technology, said underground drainage facilities have been overlooked in most cities.

He called for more funding for drainage projects.

The ministry did not say how the upgrades will be funded, although a central government notice issued in April said the funds may come from land transfer revenues and flood control funding.

Editor: Chen Zhi

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