The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $150 million loan that will protect Qinghai Province’s second largest city, Haidong, from flash floods, improve its overall urban environment, and bring better services to both the city and nearby rural areas.
“Haidong’s location in the Huangshui River valley, surrounded by steep and barren mountains, makes it particularly vulnerable to flash flooding,” said Kristina Katich, an ADB Urban Development Specialist. “Managing flood risks, reducing soil erosion, improving water quality and availability, and increasing climate resilience are among the most urgent tasks to be addressed by the new ADB project in this rapidly growing urban area.”
Floods of differing severities have been recorded every year since 1949, with large-scale events every 6-7 years. While some flood prevention barriers are in place, these are poorly maintained and unevenly distributed. Soil erosion on the surrounding mountains has made the flooding risk worse.
As part of a comprehensive approach to flood management, the project will provide new embankments to stabilize the river banks, provide a riverside greenbelt with parkland and seasonal flood water storage areas, and rehabilitate existing wetlands. Complementing this, mountainside forest areas will be expanded to control soil erosion and reduce siltation in the Huangshui River, the largest tributary to the Yellow River. Combined, flood risks will be reduced not only in Haidong, but in downstream communities as well.
Qinghai is promoting urbanization along a corridor connecting Xining and Lanzhou cities, forming a city cluster that includes Haidong. The authorities aim to add more than half a million residents to the city’s existing population of 1.7 million by 2030. But public services remain inadequate, with the city falling further behind in meeting water supply and solid waste disposal needs.
The project will therefore also provide critical urban and rural services by building three water treatment plants and new pipe networks for raw and potable water, while adding 850,000 cubic meters of capacity to a major landfill.
The project activities will be backed by a program of training and equipment for the sustainable management and maintenance of the new facilities, as well as capacity support for better water basin coordination.
A population of about 217,000 in 180 villages will benefit directly with another 205,600 indirectly benefiting. These include a significant number of women, since they are primarily responsible for water collection, solid waste disposal, and related household activities.
The total cost of the project is about $243 million, of which the government will provide about $84.3 million. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2022.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.