Environmental Protection

 Yellow River

Yellow River Conservancy Wins Third Singapore Water Prize

 Yellow River

China's Yellow River.

The Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) won the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2010, according to Singapore International Water Week officials.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward solving global water problems by either applying technologies or implementing policies and programs that benefit humanity. With its success in transforming China's second-longest river, YRCC outshone 49 other nominees to become the third recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize.

YRCC overcame natural and man-made challenges through innovative and sustainable policies and solutions that have enabled the Yellow River to flow unabated over the last 10 years. The commission's integrated water allocation program balances water availability with social, economic and ecological developments.

By regulating water and sediment flow in a river that has the highest average annual sediment transporting volume and concentration in the world, YRCC has been able to significantly reduce the risk of devastating floods, protecting the 90 million people living downstream of the river from loss of lives and damage to livelihoods and property.

Tan Gee Paw, chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize Nominating Committee, said: "The Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize celebrates the outstanding achievements of YRCC in integrated river basin management that is unrivaled in scale. In rejuvenating the Yellow River and managing floods, YRCC has brought about widespread and sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits to over 100 million people. We look forward to YRCC sharing its innovative, holistic and sustainable river basin management practices at the Water Week, and inspiring greater impetus in establishing sustainable water solutions for increasingly urbanized communities worldwide."

YRCC will receive the award from Singapore's first Prime Minister and present Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at Singapore International Water Week 2010, which will be held from June 28 to July 2.

The winning factors include its river management approach, "Maintaining the Healthy Life of the Yellow River," a systemic and holistic approach to the management, allocation and regulation of water supply. With 9 provinces and regions along the 5,464-kilometer-long river, YRCC adopts a consultative approach to secure the support of the provincial governments and the people to equitably allocate water for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses, thus preventing abuse and over-exploitation of water resources.

YRCC has also implemented an integrated operation of reservoirs along 3,000 kilometers of the river, to regulate river flow and boost storage capacity. Remote sensing and automation is employed to collect real-time river system information to monitor and control the reservoirs and dams. Through the coordinated operation of Xiaolangdi Dam and other reservoirs, YRCC has carried out 9 flushing operations since 2002 to regulate the flow of water and sediments in the lower reaches of the Yellow River. This has deepened the riverbed by an average of 1.5 meters for some 900 kilometers downstream of the river and more than doubled the river's maximum flow capacity from 1,800 m3/s to 3,880 m3/s to substantially improve flood safety.

YRCC also puts in place emergency response plans to manage, control and mitigate major water pollution incidents. The commission works closely with environmental protection agencies and has implemented a public notification system to inform the public of any major water pollution incident.

The winner receives a SGD300,000 cash prize, an award certificate, and a gold medallion. The award is sponsored by the Singapore Millennium Foundation, a philanthropic body supported by Temasek Holdings.

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