Next Article in Journal
Limits—Urban Density and Mobility Networks in West Berlin during the Period of Containment
Next Article in Special Issue
Factor Analysis of Residential Energy Consumption at the Provincial Level in China
Previous Article in Journal
Exploring the Impact of Complementary Assets on the Environmental Performance in Manufacturing SMEs
Previous Article in Special Issue
Scenario-Based Analysis on Water Resources Implication of Coal Power in Western China
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 7433-7451;

Water Quality Changes during Rapid Urbanization in the Shenzhen River Catchment: An Integrated View of Socio-Economic and Infrastructure Development

Key Laboratory for Urban Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Civil Engineering (C5), Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 August 2014 / Revised: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 14 October 2014 / Published: 23 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1751 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |  


Surface water quality deterioration is a serious problem in many rapidly urbanizing catchments in developing countries. There is currently a lack of studies that quantify water quality variation (deterioration or otherwise) due to both socio-economic and infrastructure development in a catchment. This paper investigates the causes of water quality changes over the rapid urbanization period of 1985–2009 in the Shenzhen River catchment, China and examines the changes in relation to infrastructure development and socio-economic policies. The results indicate that the water quality deteriorated rapidly during the earlier urbanization stages before gradually improving over recent years, and that rapid increases in domestic discharge were the major causes of water quality deterioration. Although construction of additional wastewater infrastructure can significantly improve water quality, it was unable to dispose all of the wastewater in the catchment. However, it was found that socio-economic measures can significantly improve water quality by decreasing pollutant load per gross regional production (GRP) or increasing labor productivity. Our findings suggest that sustainable development during urbanization is possible, provided that: (1) the wastewater infrastructure should be constructed timely and revitalized regularly in line with urbanization, and wastewater treatment facilities should be upgraded to improve their nitrogen and phosphorus removal efficiencies; (2) administrative regulation policies, economic incentives and financial policies should be implemented to encourage industries to prevent or reduce the pollution at the source; (3) the environmental awareness and education level of local population should be increased; (4) planners from various sectors should consult each other and adapt an integrated planning approach for socio-economic and wastewater infrastructure development. View Full-Text
Keywords: water quality; wastewater infrastructure; socio-economic policy; urbanization; catchment water quality; wastewater infrastructure; socio-economic policy; urbanization; catchment

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Qin, H.-P.; Su, Q.; Khu, S.-T.; Tang, N. Water Quality Changes during Rapid Urbanization in the Shenzhen River Catchment: An Integrated View of Socio-Economic and Infrastructure Development. Sustainability 2014, 6, 7433-7451.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top