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Farsighted urban planning

Updated: 2013-09-18 07:49
(China Daily)

A desirable urban drainage system should be completed in all cities within 10 years, according to the proposal on urban construction, released by the State Council on Monday. This speaks volumes about the importance the central authorities have attached to the quality of current urbanization.

Farsighted urban planning

A driver tries to get out of a van after parking in Wuhan, Hubei province on July 7, 2013. Heavy rain hit the city between July 6 and 7, flooding many roads. China plans to build a new drainage system in ten years, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. [Photo/Xinhua]

Floods not only compromise the quality of life of residents, they also pose a serious threat to life.

Urban flooding is a headache for many cities during the rainy season every year, which besides extreme weather conditions is a result of their inadequate drainage systems. In July last year, one Beijing driver died in a flooded downtown underpass and three others drowned in a suburban road-rail intersection because the city's drainage system could not cope with the heaviest rains to have fallen on the capital in 60 years.

A large-scale renovation of the existing drainage systems in all cities is indeed necessary, because poor design and maintenance mean they are inadequate to deal with the heavy rainstorms that are a result of global warming.

Besides reducing the risks that accompany flooding, the proposed renovation plan offers hope that drainage systems in all cities will not just draw rainwater off the streets but also collect it for cities, many of which suffer severe water shortages.

We also hope that the necessary task of renovating drainage systems will serve as a reminder to decision-makers and urban planners that a vision for the future is important for urban development. Last summer's tragedies in Beijing should tell that there can be no shortcuts.

Now the country is undergoing a process of rapid urbanization, it is particularly important that urban planners are far-sighted, take each drain pipe seriously and take solid steps when designing and constructing urban infrastructure.

Cost considerations weigh heavily on urban planners, but penny pinching will only come back to haunt the cities in the future.

Visionary urban planning and people-oriented urban development will save money in the long run.

Designs for drainage systems and flood-prevention plans need to take into account local rainfall records and any potential risks that floods could trigger.