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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

A Nation-Wide Framework for Evaluating Freshwater Health in China: Background, Administration, and Indicators

1
Hydraulic Engineering Department, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(9), 2596; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092596
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 14 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources Management Models for Policy Assessment)
This study reviewed the existing experience of implementing the nation-wide freshwater health evaluation in China and around the world and proposes a new framework that works in collaboration with the River Chief System (RCS). The institutional context of China with intertwined political and scientific considerations makes it essential to establish a concise and quantitative approach to assess the effectiveness of the RCS as well as local freshwater health conditions that can be easily understood by non-experts for decision-making. To fulfil this objective, we reconstructed the indicator categories based on the best practices in major western countries and the existing regional standards in China. The new indicator framework includes two main aspects: Ecosystem integrity (physical habitat, water quantity, water quality, and aquatic life) and non-ecological performance (social services and water governance). Specifically, the non-ecological attributes of freshwaters are in accordance with the purposes of the RCS and are usually ignored in many countries. The final health grade for a specific water body is determined by a weighted averaging method; this grade is the core element of an evaluation protocol designed to produce reliable data for adaptable water resources governance in China. The research findings in this study will also be integrated into the new national standard to be issued by the Ministry of Water Resources of China in late 2020. View Full-Text
Keywords: freshwater health; river chief system; ecological integrity; social services; water governance; national standard freshwater health; river chief system; ecological integrity; social services; water governance; national standard
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MDPI and ACS Style

Xie, C.; Yang, Y.; Liu, Y.; Liu, G.; Fan, Z.; Li, Y. A Nation-Wide Framework for Evaluating Freshwater Health in China: Background, Administration, and Indicators. Water 2020, 12, 2596.

AMA Style

Xie C, Yang Y, Liu Y, Liu G, Fan Z, Li Y. A Nation-Wide Framework for Evaluating Freshwater Health in China: Background, Administration, and Indicators. Water. 2020; 12(9):2596.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Xie, Chen; Yang, Yifan; Liu, Yang; Liu, Guoqing; Fan, Ziwu; Li, Yun. 2020. "A Nation-Wide Framework for Evaluating Freshwater Health in China: Background, Administration, and Indicators" Water 12, no. 9: 2596.

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