Scoping the Water-Energy-Pollution Nexus in Urumqi and Qingdao for Preparing PRC’s Ministry of Environmental Protection Co-Control Program

This PDA will study the water-energy-pollution nexus in Urumqi and Qingdao cities in the People’s Republic of China to help the Ministry of Environmental Protection to effectively design co-control regulation of water, energy, and air pollution.

Report Card

Completed in March 2013, this PDA helped

  • Collect relevant information that will produce greater understanding about the water-energy confrontations in PRC, and will document potential measures to address them in two geographically, economically, and ecologically distinct cities: Urumqi and Qingdao;
  • Provide input into the design of an integrated pollution co-control program for MEP’s 13th Five Year Plan. This scoping work is an important step to develop the co-control program; and,
  • Lay out a research agenda to expand MEP’s co-control approach to incorporate water.


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) faces severe water and energy shortage by the end of 2020, prompting the country to enforce many pollution control policies. The Ministry of Environmental Protection’s (MEP) Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy (PRCEE) is exploring how to integrate the water-energy nexus into its work on creating a co-control method for reducing multiple conventional air pollutants and green house gases (GHGs) concurrently. The PRCEE has begun setting up pilot projects in Urumqi and Qingdao to explore the possibility of designing specific co-control guidelines for local Environmental Protection Bureaus.

This pilot project is a scoping study on how PRC’s current co-control analytical methods can be expanded to quantify interactions between water and energy as well as carbon and air pollutants. PRCEE’s scoping paper will lay out a roadmap for a larger research initiative to create more robust analytical tools for a co-control policy program for PRC’s 13th Five-Year Plan. The research and analysis will result in a knowledge-based product that comprises a comprehensive three-part, online, multi-media report from the field. They will lead to a better understanding of low carbon pilot projects.

Expected Outcomes


This PDA will add significantly to the research, analysis, and thinking that inform and advance ADB’s investments and mission around urbanization and energy production, as well as PRC’s economic and environmental security.


The project will provide strategic in-depth research to the MEP and PRCEE that significantly increases the knowledge and understanding of the important contest between water consumption and energy production in rich and poor urban areas in PRC, and the opportunities to promote innovation to solve them.