YINCHUAN, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Ma Zihan, a primary school student in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has recently visited a local water recycling plant with his classmates.
The visit was timed to coincide with the 36th China Water Week, running from March 22 to 28, which aims to raise public awareness of water resource protection.
"I came to learn more about the value of water. Every drop of water needs our protection and every drop tells us why we need to save water," said the 10-year-old.
Ningxia is known for dry weather throughout the year, and surveys show that 75 percent of its land is dry or semi-dry. The local government and people have made water-saving and good water management a priority.
Local enterprises have been required to take the lead in water saving and management, while farmers are given support in using high-efficiency irrigation methods.
At Sinopec Great Wall Energy and Chemical (Ningxia) Co., Ltd., engineers have been using a zero wastewater discharge system for the past seven years, producing reclaimed water by recycling industrial water and distilling it. As a result, 98.5 percent of the company's industrial water is reused.
In Yinchuan, the municipal government has renovated the city's sewerage system, connecting it to the sewage treatment network so that water that accumulates in the sewers during the rainy season can be used again.
At the Qianjin Farm, run by Ningxia State Farm, in Pingluo County, 80 km from Yinchuan, one can see a vast area of farmland with no signs of irrigation ditches or drains.
An area of farmland measuring 1,334-hectare has been expanded by nearly 20 percent by the addition of newly reclaimed land, thanks to the adoption of technological innovations like drip irrigation and underground hoses for drainage, said Lu Baojin, chairman of the board of the farm.
"We have used the technologies of automatic irrigation, drones, and water and fertilizer integration, helping to make a 50 percent saving on water and 40 percent on fertilizer," said Lu.
In some counties in Ningxia, the local governments cap the amount of subsidized water to be used for farming while requiring factories to buy water at market prices.
In Pengyang County in southern Ningxia, the local government has capped subsidized water use for one hectare of farmland at 1,650 cubic meters per year, said Wu Jincai, an official of the county water authority.
"This has changed the farmers' old thinking that water is free of charge and they can use as much as they want," Wu said.
"We put water resources on the market with market prices in a bid to encourage more efficient use," said Wang Yanbing, an engineer with the Ningxia water resources department.