Water quality of the upper reach of the Xin'an River has been rated as A since East China's Anhui and Zhejiang provinces launched an ecological compensation program to protect the river in 2012, Anhui Daily reports, citing an assessment report released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
According to the assessment report, the water quality of both the Xin'an River and the Qiaodao Lake, which the river runs into and is the main source of drinking water for Zhejiang province and a strategic reserve reservoir for the Yangtze River Delta, was top-rated from 2012 to 2017.
Since the eco-compensation initiative was launched, tough measures have been imposed to protect the ecological environment of the river. As a result, environmental, economic and social benefits were all reaped, the report said.
The eco-compensation program is designed to make sure the regions and industries that benefit most from the exploitation of natural resources pay for the damages caused to the environment. Conversely, the regions and institutions that protect resources are to be compensated both for their service and the chances for economic development they forego.
"If the water offered by upper Anhui has a quality higher than the basic standard, Zhejiang should compensate Anhui, and Anhui should pay compensation to Zhejiang if the water quality is lower than the standard," Lie Weiping, head of the bureau for protection of the Xin'an River, told China Daily.
Anhui and Zhejiang provinces and the central government have set up a compensation fund worth 3.95 billion yuan ($626.98 million).
Huangshan, a city in the upper reach of the Xin'an River, has invested 12.06 billion yuan to clean the river basin.