China has a small per capita water resource and unbalanced spatial distribution. With the acceleration of China's urbanization and industrialization, the demand gap for water resources is also growing. In this context, the sewage treatment industry has become a new industry, which is as important as the tap water production, water supply, drainage and reclaimed water reuse industries.
In 2007, China's investment in water pollution control reached 338.76 billion yuan, an increase of 32% over the previous year, accounting for 1.36% of the year's GDP. The water environment quality in China remained stable on the whole. In 2007, 942 sewage outlets in the primary water source protection zone were banned, 1294 construction projects that might cause pollution in the secondary water source protection zone were suspended, and 931 were treated within a time limit.
As of October 2008, 1459 sewage treatment plants have been built in cities, counties and some key organic towns with a daily treatment capacity of 85.53 million tons (288 in 36 major cities with a daily treatment capacity of 34.97 million tons), up 60.5% and 42.6% respectively from the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan. The sewage treatment rate of cities in China has increased from 52% in 2005 to 63% in 2007; 1033 urban sewage treatment projects are under construction, with a design daily treatment capacity of about 35.95 million tons. From January to October 2008, the urban sewage treatment plants that have been put into operation throughout the country have handled 19 billion tons of sewage in total, and the operating load rate has reached 76%, an increase of 21% and about 3 percentage points year on year respectively.