Strengthen the management of water according to law and join hands to protect the mother river

——Written on the occasion of the implementation of the Yellow River Protection Law and the 2023 "World Water Day" and "China Water Week"

March 3 is the 22st World Water Day, and the publicity activities of the 4th China Water Week are launched simultaneously. The United Nations has set the theme for this year's World Water Day as "Accelerating Change". In conjunction with the Yellow River Protection Law, which will come into force on April 1 this year, the theme of China's activities to commemorate this year's "World Water Day" and "China Water Week" is "Strengthening the Management of Water in accordance with Law and Working Together to Protect the Mother River."

The Yellow River is the mother river of the Chinese nation. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: "Protecting the Yellow River is a great plan related to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin are major national strategies, like the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping has clearly put forward the idea of "water conservation first, spatial balance, systematic governance, and two-handed efforts" from the strategic height of realizing the sustainable development of the Chinese nation, personally planned, personally deployed, and personally promoted the major national strategy of ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin, and guided the Yellow River protection and governance to achieve historic achievements and historic changes. The water conservancy department defended against the largest autumn flood since the founding of the People's Republic of China, ensuring the safety of people's lives and property; Persistently implement water and sand transfer, and continuously improve the flood carrying capacity of the main channel of the downstream river; The implementation of dual control of total water consumption and intensity has maintained the healthy life of the Yellow River; Comprehensively strengthen the comprehensive prevention and control of soil erosion, and achieve a "double decrease" in the area and intensity of soil erosion; The ecological replenishment of the Yellow River Delta has been continuously replenished, the ecosystem of the estuarine wetland has been stable and improving, and the biodiversity has increased significantly.

The Yellow River Protection Law takes water as the core, river as the link and basin as the basis, coordinates the upstream and downstream, main tributaries, and left and right banks, pays more attention to the systematic, holistic and coordinated nature of protection and governance, and takes the outstanding difficulties and problems existing in the Yellow River Basin as the guide, and clarifies a series of targeted, guaranteed and binding institutional measures, which provides a solid legal guarantee for promoting the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin, and is an important milestone in the history of the governance of the Yellow River of the Chinese nation. We must deeply understand the legislative intent, core essence and practical requirements of the Yellow River Protection Law, combine the publicity and implementation of the Yellow River Protection Law with the comprehensive study, comprehensive grasp and comprehensive implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, resolutely perform statutory duties, and effectively do a good job in the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin on the track of rule of law.

First, we should pay close attention to studying, publicizing, and building supporting systems. Grasp the key time nodes, innovate methods and methods, increase publicity and popularization of the law, make the Yellow River Protection Law "well-known", and promote the habit and consciousness of respecting the law and abiding by the law. In light of the Yellow River Protection Law, comprehensively sort out the requirements for the construction of supporting systems, persist in highlighting key points, accelerate the formulation of a series of supporting systems such as water intake permits, mandatory water quotas, and unified water and sand dispatch, promote the formulation of plans, standards, catalogs, directories, and plans specified in the Yellow River Protection Law, and promote the orderly and coordinated integration of legal system norms.

The second is to improve the water conservancy planning system for the protection and management of the Yellow River. The Yellow River Protection Law adheres to the "one game of chess" in the river basin, clearly establishes a planning system for the Yellow River Basin guided by national development planning, based on spatial planning, and supported by special planning and regional planning, and requires the preparation of comprehensive planning, water resources planning and flood control planning for the Yellow River Basin in accordance with the law. It is necessary to adhere to the problem-oriented and systematic concept, do a good job in assessing and revising the implementation of relevant plans in the Yellow River Basin, step up the promotion of the preparation of various special plans and programs, effectively give play to the guiding and restraining role of planning, and provide strong support for the conservation, protection, development and utilization of water resources and the prevention and control of water hazards.

The third is to strengthen the regulation and control of water and sand and flood control safety in the Yellow River. The Yellow River Protection Law focuses on flood risk, which is the biggest threat, firmly grasps the "bull's nose" of regulating the relationship between water and sand, and makes comprehensive provisions on the construction of water and sand regulation and flood prevention and disaster reduction engineering systems, improving water and sand regulation and flood prevention and pollution control and scheduling mechanisms, and strengthening hydrological and meteorological monitoring, forecasting and early warning. It is necessary to speed up the construction of a flood prevention engineering system in the river basin mainly composed of reservoirs, river courses, embankments, and flood storage and detention areas. Improve the water and sand control system and plan, and implement the joint and unified dispatch of main tributary reservoirs. Formulate and improve the Yellow River flood prevention plan, flood control plan, and anti-pollution control plan, and strengthen the unified operation of river basins. Improve the "three lines of defense" of rainwater monitoring composed of meteorological satellites, rain radars, rain stations and hydrological stations, and build a forecast, early warning, rehearsal and planning system. Formulate and improve the directory of the Yellow River beach area, and implement comprehensive management of river courses and beach areas. Strengthen the management of rivers, lakes and backbone reservoir areas to ensure flood control safety.

The fourth is to promote the conservation and intensive utilization of water resources in the Yellow River. In view of the biggest contradiction of water shortage in the Yellow River Basin, the Yellow River Protection Law has made comprehensive provisions on total water use control, mandatory water quotas, and water resource allocation projects. It is necessary to persist in using water to determine the city, the land, the people, and the production by water, strengthen the rigid constraint of water resources, make careful calculations and use of water resources, and strictly and meticulously manage water resources. Implement the total amount and intensity of water withdrawal control system, appropriately optimize the Yellow River water allocation plan, and improve the provincial, municipal and county administrative regions total water use and intensity control index system. Strictly manage water resources demonstration and water intake permits, implement a mandatory water quota management system, and implement differentiated management of water resources according to the carrying capacity of water resources. We will do a good job in the battle of deep water conservation and water control in the Yellow River Basin, and strengthen agricultural water saving and efficiency, industrial water saving and emission reduction, and urban water saving and loss reduction. Deepen the reform of water prices, carry out market-oriented trading of water rights, strengthen the innovation of mechanisms such as contract water-saving management and water efficiency labeling, and improve water-saving support policies. Scientific demonstration, planning and construction of cross-basin water transfer and major water source projects, accelerate the implementation of major national water network projects, and continuously improve the pattern of water resources allocation in river basins.

Fifth, strengthen the protection and restoration of water ecology in the Yellow River Basin. In view of the fragile ecological environment of the Yellow River Basin, the Yellow River Protection Law makes comprehensive provisions on water conservation, soil and water conservation, estuarine improvement, and ecological flow. It is necessary to proceed from the systematization and integrity of the ecological environment in the Yellow River Basin, adhere to the comprehensive management, systematic management, and source management of landscapes, forests, fields, lakes, grass and sand, and promote the restoration of ecological environmental protection by zoning and classification. Strengthen the protection of water conservation areas, and increase the protection of the source of the main tributaries of the Yellow River. Do a good job in the prevention and control of soil erosion in key areas, implement key projects for soil and water conservation, and strictly supervise and manage soil erosion in production and construction activities. Strengthen the ecological protection and restoration of estuaries, ensure the smooth flow of rivers into the sea and the safety of flood prevention and pollution prevention at estuaries. Strengthen the control of ecological flow and ecological water level, carry out comprehensive treatment of groundwater overexploitation, and restore the water ecology of the river basin.

Sixth, improve the capacity and level of river basin governance and management. The Yellow River Protection Law makes comprehensive provisions on establishing an overall coordination mechanism, strengthening coordination, and promoting high-quality development. It is necessary to enhance the awareness of river basins, give full play to the role of river basin management institutions, strengthen unified planning, unified governance, unified dispatch and unified management of river basins, and provide support and guarantee for the work related to the overall planning and coordination mechanism of the Yellow River Basin. Strengthen research on major scientific and technological issues in the protection and governance of the Yellow River, accelerate the construction of a digital twin of the Yellow River, and improve the digital, networked and intelligent level of river basin governance and management. Increase the intensity of law enforcement, further promote the connection between water administrative law enforcement and criminal justice, and the implementation of coordination mechanisms between water administrative law enforcement and procuratorial public interest litigation, strengthen cross-regional linkage and cross-departmental joint law enforcement, and severely crack down on all kinds of illegal water affairs in accordance with the law.

Towards a new goal, strive to start again. Let us unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, work hard for a long time, and solidly promote the implementation of the Yellow River Protection Law, so that the mother river will always remain vibrant.

(People's Daily Li Guoying, the author is Secretary of the Party Group and Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources)