The diverted water from the south passes through, nourishing the cities in northern China and constituting a beautiful scenery along the route. [File photo]

Zhang Yazhong, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) national committee and vice chairman of the CPPCC Henan provincial committee, suggested building a "green fence" to safeguard the water of Danjiangkou Reservoir, the water source of the central route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, through the proper disposal and recycling of straw and household waste in rural areas.

With a total area of 111,300 square kilometers, the Danjiangkou Reservoir area and its upstream areas are spread across 43 counties (cities and districts) and affect 17.1 million people, Zhang said.

Efforts have been made to improve the environment in the areas, but - as Zhang mentioned in his proposal - the underdeveloped rural infrastructure, the casually piled and wasted straw, the improperly disposed household waste, the lack of equipment for pollution prevention and control, and the sewage discharged into rivers, all pose threats to the water quality of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

Zhang said that building the "green fence" requires the National Development and Reform Commission to take the lead and make a plan, and requires support on pilot efforts to accumulate experiences.

The Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project Commission of the State Council should encourage the areas receiving water to help the areas offering water in developing tools and methods to dispose household waste and recycle straw, and promote deeper collaboration between the two sides to protect the environment, Zhang suggested.