Map of the Songhuajing-Liaohe River Basin in northeast China

Project title: Demonstration of Pollution Discharge Management for Water Quality Improvement in the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin

Short project description:
The Government of China has set challenging environmental objectives in its 12th 5-year plan. The project aims to support implementation of this plan by developing and demonstrating management tools and practices for pollution reduction. The aim is to develop methods that improve water quality while still preserving economic development potential. This is particularly challenging in many river basins in China where urbanisation and the rapid development of industries over the last 20 years has resulted in a grave deterioration of water quality.

The Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin represents China’s old industrial base with a large number of water-polluting industries. It has been selected as it is a key river basin for water pollution control and water environment management with clearly defined challenges in terms of pollution emission reduction and water quality improvement. Some of these challenges/problems include excessive discharge of pollutants, no optimal load allocation mechanism of quantity control, poor water quality and severely damaged water ecology as well as high risk of environmental pollution accidental events that threaten the safety of drinking water sources. Moreover, the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin is a trans-national (transboundary) river catchment, flowing from China to Russia, and therefore is well suited as a joint Sino-EU action.

Project duration: 07/13 – 06/16

Funding organisation: European Commission (EU-China Environmental Sustainability Programme)

Project partners:

  • Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences – coordinator
  • Heilongjiang Provincial Research Institute of Environmental Science (China)
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
  • Liaoning Academy of Environmental Sciences (China)
  • NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (United Kingdom)

At the Department of Environmental Informatics, research for this project was being conducted at the workgroup Complex Groundwater Systems.

Project website:

This research was also part of the OpenGeoSys initiative (


Final report: book project Chinese Water Systems