Umbrella Programme on Water Governance

The Challenge

Water is one of the most important natural resources for human development. The Millennium Development Goals have helped to highlight the importance of access to safe drinking water supplies and adequate sanitation. Over recent decades, the Chinese government has made significant efforts to expand the supply of safe drinking water in rural areas. However, over 300 million rural Chinese residents still have no access to safe drinking water, facing shortages as well as severe contamination and subsequent health risks. In China, meeting demand for limited water resources and ensuring access to clean drinking water for rural areas has become an environmental challenge that it is in urgent need of attention.

The Response

Through UNDP’s Public-Private Partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Environment Protection and Coca-Cola Greater China, a project was developed and has been in implementation since 2007. Improved Water Resources Management and Drinking Water Safety in Rural China aims to support government efforts to improve water resources management and drinking water safety in rural parts of China by setting up pilots in non-point source pollution, improved latrine facilities for schools, organic farming and waste water treatment. It also works to create water user associations to better empower stakeholders to sustainably manage water resources in their communities with reduced external assistance. Doing so provides areas with greater independence in safe water governance.


Since 2010, the project has been expanded into an Umbrella Programme on Water Governance as the UNDP-Coca-Cola partnership has expanded beyond improving policy mechanisms for drinking water safety, and a series of sound water resource management approaches and drinking water safety technologies have been demonstrated. These have included tests on water rights management and water resources allocation, the rebuilding of drainage pipelines and implementing ecologically sustainable agricultural technologies for water conservation.

This project has made a number of noteworthy achievements so far. A series of valuable policy suggestions and solutions for central and local water resource management have been devised and issued. Outreach work has enhanced public consciousness of water safety and environment protection issues. A series of pilot projects supported by the Coca-Cola company and the local fund were initiated which have improved livelihoods in the pilot areas and yielded a good development model and set of best practices.

A sound interaction mechanism has been established within the Public-Private Partnership framework, featuring “cross-department, diversified and multi-level” cooperation and participation. This mechanism has created an environment in which governments, international organisations, companies, research institutes, water organisations and communities can work together to realise shared goals and the programme targets.

Who finances it?

Donor Amount


US$ 3,941,868
Government US$ 12,910,000
Coca-Cola US$ 5,379,3260

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