China plans to pour some 2 trillion yuan (£197bn) into the development of technologies to overcome water pollution of its water resources.
The planned investment, announced in China Securities Journal citing China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, will go towards water treatment technologies such as recycling and membrane technology.
The number of people living in China accounts for about a fifth of the overall global population, however, the country only has about 7 per cent of global water resources, which are, in many cases, heavily polluted due to intense industrialisation.
The problem is made worse by China’s extensive reliance on coal, which requires large amounts of water to mitigate dust and clean the fuel before burning.
Some northern Chinese regions in particular have less water per person then countries in the Middle East.
The plan is still being finalised but the budget has been set, exceeding the 1.7 trillion yuan China plans to spend battling its more-publicised air pollution crisis. The paper did not provide any details about how the funds would be raised, when the plan would take effect, or what timeframe was foreseen.
China has previously estimated it will need to spend a total of 60 billion yuan over the next five years to set up sludge treatment facilities, and a further 10 billion yuan for annual operation.
According to government data, a 2012 survey of 5,000 groundwater check points found 57.3 per cent of samples to be heavily polluted.
China emits around 24 million tonnes of COD, or chemical oxygen demand, a measure of organic matter in waste water, and 2.45 million tonnes of ammonia nitrogen, into its water each year.