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Five Korean cities to become resilient to water pollution and climate change

Staff writer |
The Ministry of Environment and Minister Yoon Seongkyu announced that five cities were designated as "Leading Water Circulation City."

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Those Ministry five cities are Gwangju Metropolitan City, Daejeon Metropolitan City, Ulsan Metropolitan City, Andong City in Gyeongbuk Province and Gimhae City in Gyeongnam Province.

The ministry held a contest for Leading Water Circulation City among 74 large cities with a population of over 100,000 from February to April, and a total of nine cities applied for the contest.

After the on-site evaluation and document screening by the Expert Screening Committee, five cities that got excellent scores in project feasibility and implementation foundation were finally selected as Leading Water Circulation Cities.

The five Leading Water Circulation Cities will receive financial support from the Ministry of Environment and technical review by Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) and carry out KRW 123.1 billion worth of pilot projects for 4 years by 2017 to improve water circulation.

By 2017, each city will establish a basic plan including water circulation improvement goals and implementation plans, and will carry out pilot projects in regions vulnerable to water circulation from 2017 to 2020. Afterwards, the cities will expand the water circulation improvement project to the entire city.

In particular, the selected cities will provide citizens with eco-friendly rest areas reflecting city’s distinct characteristics by adopting more creative and effective methods than already-introduced low impact development methods such as grass swale and rooftop greening.

Main contents of pilot projects by Leading Water Circulation City are as follows. Gwangju Metropolitan City and Daejeon Metropolitan City will apply permeable block and rooftop greening in areas with a huge impact on adjacent rivers and streams where the city hall is located. The cities will not only improve water quality but also provide rest areas to citizens.

There are 51 areas where the rate of impervious areas is over 25% (benchmark of degraded health of river basin) such as Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul (71.5%), downstream of Yudeungcheon, Daejeon (51.2%) and Gwangjucheon Stream, Gwangju (46.9%).

To address such distortion in water circulation, the amount of rainfall penetration and storage in cities needs to be expanded by introducing Low Impact Development method, and it is an urgent task to develop a model to lead low impact development.

In Washington, the United States, water pollution from suspended solids, nitrogen and phosphorus was reduced by over 60% after the enactment of Ordinance on Diversified Rainfall Management in 2002.

Kronsberg Residential District in Germany is restoring the amount of water circulation before the development of the district through a linkage between grass swale and penetration trench without rain water pipe. Also, Berlin lowers summer temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius by reducing impervious areas.

In Korea, Rainfall Leakage Zero Complex built in Ochang saw a drop in rain water leak by 17.5%, which shows a strong effect of mitigating non-point pollution in water quality improvement.

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