The United States and China signed an agreement to expand the cooperative program that provides U.S. technical assistance to help improve and protect water quality and access to safe and sustainable water resources in China, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency ( Increasing water conservation and efficiency in China is expected to help reduce energy consumption and air pollution locally and globally.

“This U.S.-China watershed agreement strengthens our partnership and advances the Bush Administration”s agenda for sustainable economic development and environmental protection,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water, in a prepared statement.

Under terms of the agreement, the EPA will collaborate with China to explore better management solutions through technical assistance to improve the health and accessibility of China”s water resources. The agreement provides a framework for cooperation between the countries in the following areas:
– Integrated river basin watershed management;
– Man-made wetlands;
– Water resources monitoring; and
– Wastewater reuse.

The new memorandum of understanding (MOU) came on the heels of this year”s 15th World Water Day and China”s 20th World Water Week celebrations. The EPA and China”s Ministry of Water Resources signed the MOU. The agreement complements the 2003 MOU between the EPA and China”s State Environmental Protection Administration on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Field of Environment. An annex to that MOU sets forth a framework for scientific and technical cooperation on water pollution between the two countries.