The State Council issued a guideline on Oct 16 on building sponge cities, which would enable buildings, streets and wetlands in cities to absorb, store and release rainwater like a sponge to better serve the country’s new-type urban construction.
The construction of such cities is to flexibly control the rainwater, address waterlogging in cities, thus achieving a city development mode during which the rainwater can be naturally stored, permeated and purified, according to the statement issued by the government.
Under the guideline, cities in China will collect and utilize 70 percent of the rainwater, with 20 percent of urban areas meeting the target by 2020, and the proportion will increase to 80 percent by 2030.
To meet the goals, governments at all levels will carry out the construction of sponge cities in new city districts, industrial parks and development zones, while the construction of old city areas will be coordinated with renovation of shantytowns, dilapidated buildings and old communities to address the waterlogging issue.
The government will oversee the construction of sponge cities and let the market play a decisive role in allocating resources.
Various fund-raising methods, including public private partnership and franchising, should be promoted, according to the guideline.
The central government will support the construction of sponge cities with allocated central budget, governments at provincial levels should increase investments, and governments at city levels should prioritize the construction projects in mid-term financial budgets and annual construction plans.
All related authorities should consider spongy city construction as key livelihood projects, and encourage financial institutions to step up credit support for such projects. Banks will also be given incentives to provide mid- and long-term loans, according to the guideline.