The General Office of the State Council issued the “Implementation Opinions on Strengthening the Supervision and Management of Outfalls into Rivers and the Sea”


On 2 March, the General Office of the State Council issued the “Implementation Opinions on Strengthening the Monitoring and Management of Discharges to Rivers and the Sea” (hereinafter referred to as the “Opinions”), outlining the relevant requirements under five points: general requirements, investigation and detection of sources, classification and correction, monitoring and management, and support and safeguard measures.

The Opinions set out the working principles of holistic planning of water and land, clear responsibility and strict monitoring, uniform requirements and differentiated management, highlighting priorities and progressive implementation. By the end of 2023, drainage inspection will be completed in the Yangtze, Yellow River, Huai, Hai, Pearl River, Songliao and Taihu Lake basins (hereafter referred to as the seven basins); drainage inspection will be completed in the main streams, major tributaries, major lakes and major bays; improvement of the Yangtze and Yellow River main streams and major tributaries and Bohai Sea drainage will be promoted. By the end of 2025, inspection of all discharges in the seven river basins and near-shore waters will be completed; remediation of discharges in the main rivers, major tributaries and key lakes and bays will be substantially completed; a discharge monitoring and management system with a more comprehensive regulatory system, a more scientific technical system and a more efficient management system will be established.

The Opinions call for investigation and tracing of sources, implementation of classification and remediation measures, strengthening of planning and governance, strict regulation and licensing, strict enforcement of environmental law, and development of information platforms.

Safeguards include strengthening organisational leadership, strict assessment and accountability, strengthening scientific and technological support, conducting in-depth basic research on the management of runoff, promoting the establishment of a system to monitor and manage the entire “receiving water – outfall – discharge channel – discharge unit” process, strengthening public monitoring, increasing publicity of laws, regulations and policies on runoff monitoring and management, and establishing a perfect mechanism for public monitoring and reporting.