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Water 2017, 9(9), 594;

Sponge City Construction in China: A Survey of the Challenges and Opportunities

State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
Research Center on Flood and Drought Disaster Reduction of the Ministry of Water Resources, Beijing 100038, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Cycle Modelling and Management)
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Rapid urbanization in China has caused severe water and environmental problems in recent years. To resolve the issues, the Chinese government launched a sponge city construction program in 2015. While the sponge city construction initiative is drawing attention and is spreading fast nationwide, some challenges and risks remain. This study surveyed progress of all 30 pilot sponge cities and identified a broad array of challenges from technical, physical, regulatory, and financial, to community and institutional. The most dominant challenges involve uncertainties and risks. To resolve the issues, this study also identified various opportunities to improve China’s sponge city construction program. Based on the results, recommendations are proposed including urging local governments to adopt sponge city regulations and permits to alleviate water quality and urban pluvial flooding issues, fully measuring and accounting for economic and environmental benefits, embracing regional flexibility and results-oriented approaches, and focusing on a wider range of funding resources to finance the sponge city program. Coordination among other government agencies is critical, and this is true at all level of governments. Only through greater coordination, education, and broader funding could the sponge city program be advanced meaningfully and sustainably. View Full-Text
Keywords: green infrastructure; low impact development; public–private-partnership; urban stormwater management; urban flood green infrastructure; low impact development; public–private-partnership; urban stormwater management; urban flood

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Li, H.; Ding, L.; Ren, M.; Li, C.; Wang, H. Sponge City Construction in China: A Survey of the Challenges and Opportunities. Water 2017, 9, 594.

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