The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan for a demonstration project that will help clean up the Xin’an River in Anhui Province in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The project will also pilot an innovative financing mechanism to reduce rural pollution while supporting the development of green businesses.
The Xin’an River is an independent river system located within the Yangtze River Economic Belt—an area of huge economic growth in the PRC—and is the main source of drinking water for 10 million people in the surrounding area and in the downstream Zhejiang Province. Rapid urbanization is putting pressure on sewage and wastewater systems while eroded riverbanks are a concern for water pollution and flood control.
“Cleaning the Xin’an River today will improve public health and ensure a sustainable and reliable source of drinking water for years to come,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist for East Asia Mr. Mingyuan Fan. “Moreover, since the Xin’an River connects Qiandao Lake and ultimately to the ocean, the impacts will ripple far beyond Anhui Province.”
The Anhui Huangshan Xin’an River Ecological Protection and Green Development Project will upgrade the sewage and stormwater management facilities in the municipality of Huangshan and four surrounding county urban areas. The construction of river embankments will provide more protection from floods while the municipal government’s capacity to better manage water resources and flood forecasting will also be enhanced. The project will also improve the sewage treatment system of townships and villages and encourage the use of organic fertilizer and biological pesticides to lessen the rural pollution of the Xin’an River.
A key feature of the project is the rollout of green development funds aimed to incentivize farmers—through cash grants—to adopt sustainable farm management practices, as well as provide much-needed capital to small and medium-sized enterprises involved in businesses that promote environmental protection and preservation.
The project is expected to be completed by mid-2026.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.