China has faced an enduring and remarkably quick economic development since its liberalization in 1978. Despite the fact that having considerably improved the lifestyle of the large part of the population, the economic progress has resulted in severe environmental predicaments, such as widespread water and air pollution, solid waste accumulation, high air pollution and water scarcity in urban areas. The situation of the environment is still deteriorating and posing, in several areas, problems to economic development.
Between 1980 and 1993 urban water use soared by 350 % and industrial consumption twice over the period (World Bank, 2001)1. Demand for water has been growing at the time when several regions of China faced water scarcity, major water pollution, and reduced groundwater tables besides flood and famine damage.
These factors have deteriorated the deficiency of water resources, augmented costs of water purification, and in cases where suitable infrastructure has not been present, endangered the safety of drinking water, consequently the health of the population. They also had critical impacts on the safety of industrial and agricultural manufacture and led to losses in fishing business. It is expected that the yearly economic loss from water pollution in China reaches 1.5-3 % of GDP, having more major impact than floods and famine (Chinese Academy of Engineering, 2000)2.
These issues are especially severe in northern China and in the catchments of the three rivers namely Huai, Hai and Huang. These three catchments comprise around 35 % of total GDP and include the economically and politically vital Beijing-Tianjin region.
Yet the major causes of water pollution are industrial wastewater release, raw municipal sewage discharge and non-point pollution from agriculture. Of late, non-point water pollution, which emanates from fertilizer and pesticide overspill, and release from intensive animal production businesses, is becoming critical and can be expected to rise even further.
Quality of Surface and Coastal Water & Groundwater
The chemical and organic quality of the surface water is normally low. The main pollutants are raw material from domestic and industrial sources, industrial hydrocarbons, light lubricating oil, plant nutrients and heavy metals. Bacteriological pollution is