Walk around Taimiao, a thousand-year-old village in Zhumadian township, Fengtai county, East China’s Anhui province, on this early winter day, and you will find the typical northern village begins to resemble those in the scenic jiangnan (south of the Yangtze River) area.
That desirable change is largely attributed to the implementation of a river chief system that aims to address complex water issues and protect water resources.
Since the system was adopted, the town has shut down 3 sand plants and 8 riverside thatched shacks, cleaned up 12 cage culturing sites, dredged 11sites, and fished more than 1,000 tonnes of garbage out of water.
“Once again, the water is so clear that you can see the bottom of the rivers,” Ma Zhenyu, an over-70-year-old village-level river chief said joyfully.
Last year, the central government issued a document to implement the river chief system nationwide, requiring that provincial, municipal, and county- and township-level river chief systems should be established by the end of 2018.
Heads of local government at various levels are appointed as river chiefs and will be held accountable if environmental damage occurs in the waters they take charge of, according to the document.
Anhui is taking the lead in the country in establishing the river chief system, said the Department of Water Resources.
As of Nov 15, the province has issued respective plans on four major rivers: the Yangtze River, the Huaihe River, the Xin'an River and the Chaohu Lake, and municipal and county-level chiefs have been appointed for more than 1,300 rivers and lakes around the province.