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Yellow River Conservancy Commission


Citation for Yellow River Conservancy Commission


Short Motivation

Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize for its outstanding accomplishments in integrated river basin management that is unrivalled in scale. YRCC's innovative policies and solutions have brought about widespread and sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits. In just 10 years, the remarkable transformation of China's second longest river by YRCC has secured water supply for over one hundred million people, restored extensive areas of wetlands and biodiversity and protected some 90 million people living in the flood-prone areas of the Yellow River from devastating floods.


The Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) was empowered by the central government in 1999 to manage and integrate water allocation in the entire Yellow River. In just 10 years, YRCC made remarkable progress in balancing water availability with social, economic and ecological developments. YRCC employs the latest technologies in remote sensing and automation to collect real-time river system information and operate a series of reservoirs on the main stream and tributaries of Yellow River in an integrated manner. Central to this highly coordinated water allocation and sediment regulation operation is the Xiaolangdi Dam. ln addition, it uses a drought monitoring and flow forecasting meteorological satellite system - the first of its kind in the world - to predict water run-off patterns. Furthermore, YRCC conducts extensive research on hydrology and sediment transport, and practises water and sediment regulation in Yellow River to effectively enlarge its flow capacity to prevent flooding. YRCC is currently focused on studying the Yellow River using the "Three Yellow Rivers" approach. Through a combination of data collection, scale modeling and computer simulation, YRCC strives to gain deeper insights into the river system to manage the Yellow River basin more effectively.

Under YRCC's integrated water allocation programme, the Yellow River has flowed unabated over the last 1O years. Over one hundred million people living in the nine provinces within the river basin as well as in Hebei and Tianjin now enjoy an improved and reliable supply of water for domestic use, agricultural irrigation and industrial consumption. Nourished by the Yellow River, previously dry-cracked agricultural lands bear bountiful harvests. Large areas of wetlands and biodiversity in Yellow River Delta have also been restored over the years, returning life and vitality to the river. In addition, the regulated release of water and sediments has prevented floods and protects some 90 million people living in the flood-prone areas from loss of lives and damage to property.

To augment its integrated water allocation programme, YRCC has also put in place emergency response plans to manage, control and mitigate major water pollution incidents. Taking a unified approach to protect public safety, YRCC works closely with local environmental protection agencies and has implemented a public notification system to inform the public of any major water pollution incident.

The technological innovations and holistic policies of Yellow River Conservancy Commission have rejuvenated the Yellow River, and revived its aquatic ecosystem from severe deterioration. With its emphasis on nurturing life, YRCC's river basin management strategies - based on a philosophy of "Maintaining the healthy life of the Yellow River'' - are not only effective but also sustainable. One of the world's famous rivers, the Yellow River belongs not only to China, but also the entire world. The accomplishments of YRCC have preserved this great river for our future generations.

About Yellow River Conservancy Commission

The Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) was established in 1946. Its main functions are to:

  • Implement and supervise the enforcement of Water Laws and other water-related Acts.
  • Draft water policies at the basin level.
  • Undertake water resources administration and resolve the inter-provincial water dispute.
  • Develop and implement a river basin master plan.
  • Carry out basin flood control through evaluation, construction and management of hydraulic projects, like dams and embankments, in Yellow River.
  • Monitor and control soil erosion in key areas of the Loess Plateau.
  • Manage and protect river water quality.
  • Formulate guidelines for the conservation of the rivers, lakes, estuary, and coastline within Yellow River basin.

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