Sharon Kleyne Cites China’s Chengdu As Model Water Developer

Water Advocate Sharon Kleyne Calls Attention to UNIDO-China Cooperation. United Nations Sponsors BOT Projects in Developing Countries.

When China’s economic reforms began in 1978, Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China, was one of many cities that swiftly experienced fresh water shortages. Population skyrocketed (from half-a-million people to over 9 million in twenty-five years) and existing infrastructure was strained to the breaking point. Obviously, the city desperately needed new water facilities and rejuvenated existing ones. Water Educator Sharon Kleyne observed that this situation was and is facing communities all over the world and we need leaders and researchers to step up to find viable solutions to the world’s fresh water crisis.

Enter, at the invitation of the Chinese government, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO partnered with China’s Ministry of Light Industry to offer foreign investment programs in Chengdu and other provinces. UNIDO offered technical support and mentored China in absorbing foreign investment. UNIDO also supported the State Planning Commission as it created regulations to establish standard concession agreements for Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects in the road, power and water sectors.

This led to one of the first three BOT projects in China. Beginning in 1999, Chengdu #6 Water Plant was designed and created by a joint venture made up of the French Companie Generale Des Eaux (CGE) and the Japanese company, Marubeni, which was granted the rights to operate the plant for 18 years. Thanks to this cooperative project, Chengdu and developing industrial zones in the region benefited from new technology that processed treated water in a cost-effective manner. The project also included best practices for the management and operation of water treatment facilities. This investment in clean water was essential to the health and development of Chengdu and its entire neighboring region. An Asian Development Bank Report stated that “without the public-private partnership, the city of Chengdu would not have been able to expand its water supply capacity so quickly or be equipped to meet the demand for a growing economy.”

UNIDO’s goals through 2030 include its Agenda for Sustainable Development and in particular to Sustainable Development Goal 9—Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Water advocate Sharon Kleyne, founder of Bio-Logic Aqua® Research Water Life Science®, applauds the UN’s earlier and current efforts through its UNIDO program, yet she is not satisfied that the international organization is doing all that it might to make a more positive impact on the water crisis facing the planet. “The UN could do a lot more in terms of water education and new water research, especially among young people,” Kleyne said. “We can’t be satisfied with the UN or anyone else until we find workable solutions for the world’s water crisis.”


Would you like to share your thoughts on water in China and elsewhere in the world? How about water evaporation, water research and new technology? Have you had problems getting and using clean water? Do you think that the UN is doing enough to solve humanity’s water problems? If you have comments or stories you’d like to share, we’d like very much to hear from you! You can reach us in the following ways. 800-367-6478 ~ Fax 541-474-2123 or on Twitter at @sharonkleynehr

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