Li Yuanyuan: Devoting wisdom to nation's water ecology protection and civilization

(     Updated : 2023-03-01


Li Yuanyuan is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), vice-president of the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design at the Ministry of Water Resources, president of the International Water Resources Association, and a professorate senior engineer. [Photo provided to]


Li Yuanyuan speaks at a CPPCC group meeting. [Photo provided to]

Li Yuanyuan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), highlighted the importance of water resources by saying that water is the most active factor in natural ecology and the environment, and without water, anything is impossible to be accomplished.

He was recently honored with the 2022 excellent performance award for CPPCC members for his efforts in protecting water ecology and the environment in China.

"Most water conservancy projects have focused on the development and utilization of water resources in the past few years. The future focus must be switched to the restoration and protection of water resources and the construction of a water ecological civilization, as the concept of development undergoes natural, fundamental yet inevitable changes in China," said Li, who is also vice-president of the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design at the Ministry of Water Resources, and president of the International Water Resources Association.

For many years, the protection of water resources and the promotion of water ecological civilization have been high on the work agenda of Li, who has engaged in water resources and hydropower planning and designing for 38 years.

In the past 10 years, Li, as a CPPCC member, has focused his investigations and research on water-related issues, which are of national significance and go hand in hand with people's livelihoods. He has participated in a number of important field surveys, including those on "the ecological environment protection of national key lakes", "the issue of ecological environmental protection in the construction of the Sichuan-Xizang Railway", "the safety issue of rural drinking water", and "the construction of the Yellow River National Cultural Park".

Consequently, he has submitted more than 20 well-targeted policy recommendations on the scientific planning of water conservancy projects, agricultural and rural development, the construction of nationwide water networks and ecological civilization, as well as efforts on safeguarding the country's water security.

Among them, the suggestion on "the protection of water sources and the prevention of groundwater pollution", the survey outcome of "the ecological protection of water conservation areas in the upper reaches of the Yellow River", and the research report on "strengthening the ecological protection and restoration of Baiyangdian Lake to support the development of Xiongan New Area", received instructions from national leaders and have effectively promoted the implementation of relevant government undertakings.

Claimed as an industry leader, Li has opened up new fields in developing water resources and the water ecology discipline in China, in addition to being instrumental in the establishment of a technical system of water resources and water ecology planning and an innovative policy system for water resources and water ecology management.

Li has led the development of a national platform providing information on China's water resources, water ecology and environment and relevant water risks. He has also pioneered the country's scientific research work on promoting the optimal allocation of water resources and well-coordinated social and economic development and ecological protection, and has worked out a large number of major key technical solutions to tackle issues hindering the development and utilization of water resources, the comprehensive treatment of river basins, and the restoration and protection of water ecology around the country.

His technical achievements have been commended as international models by relevant departments of the United Nations and other international organizations. His planning achievements, opinions on national strategic decisions and policies have been adopted by government departments, while his technical methods have been included in national and industrial technical specifications and standards, technical regulations, work rules and training materials on national water conservancy technology and administration.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Li has presided over and participated in the research of large-scale technical cooperation projects between the Chinese government and international organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and foreign research institutions, bringing back advanced overseas technologies and experience to China.

The veteran Chinese scientist has also participated in international assessments of and negotiations on issues concerning global sustainable development, the protection of water resources and water ecology, responses to climate change and the formulation of water-related policies.