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China’s Water Rights Reform Progress and Policy Options(No.46, 2018)


By Gu Shuzhong, Li Weiming & Li Jing, Research Team on “China’s Water Treatment”, Research Institute of Resources and Environment Policies, DRC

Research Report, No.46, 2018 (Total 5321) 2018-03-13

Abstract: The water rights system is an effective leverage to optimize water resource allocation, conserve and protect water resources, and enhance the efficiency and benefits of water resource use in the market economy. Accelerating water rights system building has become a major and urgent task relating to China’s sustainable and sound economic and social development as well as the ecological progress. Since the turn of the new century, China has conducted a series of water rights experiments and gained a batch of outcomes and experience. However, generally speaking, the building of China’s water rights market is still feeling its way. To make headway in water rights reform, it is imperative for us to sum up China experience in pilot projects reform and find out relevant problems and difficulties in water rights reform in recent years, and on that basis, we need to systematically put forward the policy options and roadmaps relating to water rights confirmation and trading. Specifically, the top priority is to strengthen top-level design, including the revision of water-related laws and regulations, the improvement of water-exploitation license system, and the building of the primary market for water resource allocation. Meanwhile, it is necessary for us to reinforce the water rights foundation, including the improvement of water resource allocation, the enhancement of the construction of relevant facilities and more endeavour made on water rights theoretical research, so as to form a consensus across society on the above-mentioned issues. Besides, we need to push ahead with related strategies in light of local conditions.

Key words: confirmation of water rights, water rights trade, policy options, roadmaps