Dongjiang’s East River supplies the drinking water to Guangdong and Hong Kong. This program aims to safeguard Dongjiang’s water supply by rallying upstream and downstream partnerships with a goal to enhance upstream water catchments and promote downstream water conservation.
This 10-year (2008-2018) Dongjiang River Partners Program was initiated by Friends of the Earth (HK) China Team. Mei Ng has been working with Friends of the Earth for more than 25 years. By joining the hands of the people in Xunwu County Jiangxi, Guangdong and Hong Kong, public participation can turn self-sacrifice at the source into mutual support for the area’s environmental protection, safeguarding the fresh water supply and promoting water sustainability for 35 million people.
Since 1963, the Chinese Government has banned most economic activities in Xunwu and nearby counties for the sake of water quality protection. The sacrifice makes the local per household income as one of the lowest in the country, with many farming families earning less than RMB1,000 per annum.
The Dongjiang River Partners program will work by encouraging farmers and villagers upstream to become tree planters and keepers to earn a small income and to sustain their humble livelihood.
Afforestation is always the best way to protect the catchment areas as well as clean and stable freshwater supply at river source. We are going to establish the first “Hong Kong Forest” at Dongjiangyuan Village of Xumwu, at the source of Dongjiang. Our target is to restore the woodland, which was damaged during a snowstorm, and a subsequent hill fire in early 2008.
We are also initiating demo eco-farming, bamboo cultivation and waste-into-biogas through technology transfer and capacity building.
Farmers Green workshops and training will be organised to facilitate a village sustainable development demo which includes village household biogas installation, organic vegetable growing demo, bamboo forest management as well as villagers/farmers eco training and environmental education for the village school children.
Downstream we are promoting public awareness on water saving and river clean up activities to promote public participation.
Additionally “Blue Collar Green Awareness” training aims to raise environmental awareness of factory workers and advocate cleaner production to protect water resource.
The priorities of the Dongjiang River Partners 10 Year Plan:
- Upstream Hong Kong Forest (Newly Wed Forest)
- Upstream Farmers’ Green School (eco-farming capacity building)
- Upstream village household biogas installation (pig-waste-into-biogas)
- Upstream Village School (Green Library & Environment Education Lessons)
- Upstream bamboo cultivation and management (sustainable village economy)
- Downstream public participation (Guangdong and Hong Kong water saving.
- Downstream cleaner production (Blue Collar Green Awareness workshops)
The short-term goals (2009-2012):
- Set up Hong Kong Forest. We will plant 33,400 seedlings over 200 mu (about 133,000 square meters) in Dongjiang Headstream Village in 2009. A total of 167,000 seedlings will be planted within four years.
- Retrofit 50 households with biogas systems in 2009. Total 200 households by 2012. This would reduce 1,000 cubic-meters of firewood logging annually.
- Establish an Internet-connected computer lab and mini library for Dongjiang Headstream Villagers.
- Provide skills/knowledge training programs that will reach 600 farmers and children in the region.
- Logistic planning for catchment reforestation, biogas installation
- Environmental training workshops for local farmers/villagers
- Environmental lessons for village primary school children
- Feasibility study of the bamboo economy demo
- Feasibility study of the eco-farming demo
- Downstream awareness and water conservation
- Downstream Guangdong (PRD) cleaner production advocacy (factory workers awareness building Blue Collar Green Awareness workshops)
The Dongjiang River Partnership is more than planting.
- Hong Kong Forest is about water security for millions living downstream
- Hong Kong Forest is about the fair share of eco-responsibility and eco-compensation
- Hong Kong Forest is about our future generations’ water resource sustainability
- Hong Kong Forest is about a greener China
What we “give back” is more than trees.
Beyond planting, we are committed to aftercare and long-term forest management
- Beyond trees, we enhance water catchment and protect the Dongjiang River
- Beyond survival, we empower village folks to become tree guardians to earn their livelihood and switch to sustainable farming and forestry.
- Between upstream-downstream, we promote river partnership and environmental stewardship through public participation and business cleaner production
The Environment is Ours
Through public participation in the Dongjiang River Partnership, we can make a critical change – to turn one-sided self-sacrifice into mutual support for Dongjiang Source’s environmental protection and the safeguard of Hong Kong’s fresh water supply. By joining hands between the people in Xunwu County, Hong Kong and Guangdong, we are telling everyone that neither side is fighting alone in protecting the environment. It is about Eco Fair Share.
Upstream Downstream, One River, One Dream
It is about collective eco-responsibility.
It is about a green partnership.