China, Israel have similar water problems, says visiting Chinese official

Economic cooperation continues on large scale since agreement with Guangdong province in 2011.

Water irrigation 521 (photo credit: reuters)
Water irrigation 521
(photo credit: reuters)
Despite its gigantic size and copious water supplies, China is similar to Israel in its thirst for water, Li Guoying, China’s vice minister of Water Resources, emphasized at a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Li was speaking at a session on “Israel-China Cooperation in Water and Environmental Technologies” at the Water Technology and Environmental Control (WATEC) Exhibition and Conference, organized by the Israel Trade Fairs Center and Kenes exhibition company.
Participating in the trilingual Chinese-English- Hebrew session were a couple of hundred visitors from China interested in doing business with Israel’s water industry.
Although China contains about a sixth of the world’s water supply, considering its huge population, this represents an insufficient quantity, Li explained.
“Israel and China are far away from each other, and the situation of the two countries is different,” Li said. “But for water use and water we have the same target, and we want to use the water for more scientific and industry and environmental purposes.”
While China already employs a wide range of water sector technologies, Li stressed that he is interested in continued collaboration with Israel.
“We want to share with Israel to develop this,” he said. “I hope to enhance cooperation between China and Israel.”
Wang Junmin, deputy party secretary of Shandong province, said that during his stay here, he is studying how Israel depends on water technology to strengthen the country and hopes to do the same to enhance Shandong.
“Water is the base of economic development,” Wang stated.
With a population of 96 million people, Shandong is located in China’s east, next to the sea, and thrives on agriculture, he explained. The province signed cooperation agreements last year with Israel toward industrial development, and Wang said he looks forward to cooperating on water conservation and to reuse mechanisms, as well as strategies, for water in agriculture. In particular, he expressed hopes that Israeli enterprises will open their doors in Shandong.
Pan Huageng, president and general manager of the Dowell Technological & Environmental Engineering Co., recalled that two years ago, he addressed WATEC and spoke of a future Sino- Israeli International Water Industrial Park to be based in China’s Guangdong province.
“In two years, we made our promise true and we did more than we promised,” Pan said.
In 2011, Guangdong province signed economic agreements with Israel, and in 2012 a cornerstone-laying ceremony for the park occurred, Pan said, adding that construction of the full site is underway, and by 2014, the province will be able to accommodate in-house companies. The Chinese representatives are doing all in their power to attract Israeli companies to develop technologies there, he said.
“This park is supposed to be the center of the new industry,” Pan stated. “We will continue our promise. We will make it a center of innovation.”