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Open AccessArticle

The River Chief System and River Pollution Control in China: A Case Study of Foshan

by Hui Liu 1, Yongqin David Chen 2,3, Tao Liu 4,* and Lu Lin 5
1
School of Government, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China
2
School of Humanities and Social Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518172, China
3
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
4
College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
5
School of Economics and Management, China University of Petroleum-Beijing, Beijing 102206, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081606
Received: 13 July 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance)
The river chief system (RCS) has been innovatively implemented in Wuxi, China since 2007 for the eutrophication control of Tai Lake. In 2016, RCS was eventually promoted throughout China to reinforce river and lake protection. The success of this new river management system is generally attributed to collaboration, accountability, and differentiation effects. This research takes Foshan in the Pearl River Delta region as a case study to examine the feasibility and weaknesses in the implementation of the RCS. Prior to the formal adoption of RCS, a coordinating organization for river improvement undertaking was established in Foshan to overcome fragmentation in water management. Compared with this practice, the new RCS can strengthen the collaboration of administrative authorities and establish a considerably sophisticated and effective management structure. Emphasis on evaluation and accountability mechanisms guarantees that management goals can be achieved. However, similar to the previous one, the new system remains a temporary management practice and its outcomes depend partially on the commitment and capability of each river chief. The imperfect evaluation and accountability mechanism also weaken its long-term effectiveness in improving river water quality. Therefore, some corresponding policy instruments are needed to ensure that RCS can be implemented smoothly. View Full-Text
Keywords: river chief system; collaboration effect; accountability mechanism; river pollution control river chief system; collaboration effect; accountability mechanism; river pollution control
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Liu, H.; Chen, Y.D.; Liu, T.; Lin, L. The River Chief System and River Pollution Control in China: A Case Study of Foshan. Water 2019, 11, 1606.

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