The social and environmental costs associated with water management practices in state environmental protection projects in Xinjiang, China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since the late 1970s the central government of China has initiated several ecological environmental protection projects. The most significant of these has been the tui geng huan lin (returning cultivated land to forest and pasture) project in operation since the late 1990s. China's northwest region is characterized by lack of water resources, yet such resources are of vital importance. There is scant discussion in the literature (including in China) on the linkages between the environmental protection projects and water management practices. This paper analyses how central government environmental protection projects are interpreted in the local setting, and how local water management policies and practices correspond to the projects. The conclusion is that local water management policies and practices are interlinked with both central government and local government policies on the environmental protection projects, and a new process for the redistribution of water has been established. When equity and social costs are not factored into the planning of new environmental protection projects, the social costs may be as high as the environmental costs. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Yuling Shen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences


  • Xinjiang, management, Water, Irrigation agriculture, China, Environmental protection
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-980
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch