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Water Management in China’s Coal Sector: Policy Review

Although coal industry development has promoted the economic growth of China, it has also exacerbated China’s water scarcity and water pollution since. Both the upstream and downstream of coal industry are water intensive. Although China has promulgated series of policies regarding water resources management of coal industry, it has not fully recognized the carrying capacity of water resources and the water stress and risks associated with coal industry development. Therefore, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Energy Foundation work together to study the current coal and water related policies, analyze the interlinked relationship between coal industry (coal mining, coal-fired power generation and coal-to-chemical) and water, identify the gap on water management in the coal industry, and provide support to setting up water management system and reasonable development targets for China’s coal industry based on the water limit. 

Executive Summary

This paper reviewed over 600 policy papers, plans, and standards regarding coal industry development and water resources management issued at the national and local level. The gap on sustainable water management in the coal industry is identified and recommendations are provided as below:

· Establish integrated water-energy management system.

· Enhance legal authoritative of water resources assessment.

· Accelerate price and resource tax reform and apply the price leverage to promote water conservation.

· Unify the definitions of water use indicators, develop water consumption measuring methodologies, and promote information disclosure in coal industries.

· Establish performance assessment system of coal industry.

· Develop renewable energy to lower the demand for coal.

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