BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has signed a decree on urban drainage and sewage treatment, as flooding and water pollution is becoming a bigger problem at a time of rapid urbanization.
The decree, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, stipulates that all governments above the county level must include the building and management of the urban drainage and sewage treatment facilities into their economic and social development plan.
The decree provides that cities and towns must plan their drainage and sewage treatment systems in accordance with their local climate, geography,and their economic and social development level.
The decree says governments must encourage private investment in the building and operation of drainage and sewage treatment facilities such as in the form of franchise or government procurement of private services.
As a crucial but "invisible" infrastructure, drainage system is also ignored by China's urban governments in their pursuit of economic growth, resulting in frequent reports of flooding even in the case of moderate rains.
In July this year, heavy rains pounded Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. After the drainage system failed, flooding crippled the transportation network of the city -- a well-known tourist destination known as "the city of eternal spring."
In July last year, the deadliest downpour in six decades occurred in Beijing, killing at least 77 people and paralyzing the city.