Water industry experts from South Australia have been appointed to deliver a stormwater harvesting pilot project for the Chinese city of Jinan under the Sponge City programme.

Government delegates from Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, travelled to South Australia in September to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australia China Sponge City Consortium.

The pilot project is part of AU$400 million being invested in Jinan over four years to address the city’s huge water supply, pollution and flood risk issues.

Jinan has a population of 7 million and is among 30 cities identified for help through China’s Sponge City programme, which launched in 2015.

The consortium of six South Australian companies includes Syntec Global, Alano Water, Water Data Services, Aqueon, Hassell and Australian Water Environments. Known as the Australia China Sponge City Consortium, the group opened an office in Jinan in May.

Consortium spokesman Geoff Fisher, from Australian Water Environments, said the group would leverage the skills and experience gained from the delivery of several successful aquifer recharge projects in the South Australian capital Adelaide over the past two decades.

He said the project design included collaboration with Chinese partners and had a strong emphasis on capacity building and information transfer.

“This will lever our technology, expertise and services into the rest of Jinan and other cities in China,” Fisher said.

“The potential economic, social and environmental benefits are wide reaching. “

During the recent visit to Adelaide, the Governor of Shandong province, His Excellency Gong Zheng learned more about South Australia’s water and environment expertise and expressed interest in further strengthening industry and government cooperation in these areas.

South Australia is also working on proposals for other water and environment projects in China including for water and soil remediation at the Qingdao High Technology Zone, the use of innovative water treatment systems at the new Fullerton Hotel in Hong Kong and discussions with TusHolding who are a major investor in science parks and incubators in China.

South Australia is the driest state in the driest continent on earth and has become a world leader in water treatment and reuse technologies.

The state and Shandong Province, which has a population of 100 million, have a 30-year relationship as sister states, paving the way for the collaboration.

“South Australia is in the right place at the right time to help our major trading partner develop the expertise it needs to address its various water challenges,” South Australian Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said.

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