Protecting Lake Poyang

Last October I attended the 14th International Living Lakes Conference at Lake Poyang, Jiangxi Province China. (Global Nature Fund)

Lake Poyang, like many of the Chinese lakes, are large in surface area but relatively shallow being on the eastern side of the country. In the dry season the lakes shrink massively, some by a third, making it difficult to maintain the natural hydrosere and all that is valuable with those transient wetlands. Farmers are now being forced to return this valuable transient farm land to natural vegetation.

Many of the problems associated with poor city infrastructure is being addressed as cities develop new towns on greenfield sites and put in contemporary sewerage and sewage treatment infrastructures, but there still remains the perennial problems of providing “adequate sewage treatment” in rural areas which of course affects the upstream watersheds of these lakes -but without the investment enjoyed in the cities.

An experiment of approx. 200 villages around Lake Poyang is looking at low cost, low energy, sustainable waste water treatment which captures the energy and minerals associated with sewage treatment, converting it to valuable products. (mainly food.) One village I visited started with a variation of green filters, but then passed the treated water through rice paddies and other fields before discharging to the lake via fish ponds. The system significantly reduces both organic matter and removes nutrients especially phosphorus, converting them to usable products.

At the moment these are experimental but have all the opportunities of fine tuning to be then rolled over at least in principal to other areas of the catchment.

Whilst our UK and Irish climate, geography and lake catchment size is very different to that in Jiangxi Province, some of the ideas may be transferable. Are there any examples we have of using these principals?

For further information contact:-

John Pinder 01931 712 540 or

0755 40 70 10 5

John pinder