China has become a leader in applying technology to water conservation, and it will continue to develop cutting-edge technology in the sector, such as the use of digital simulation, officials said on Tuesday.
The country has established a network that monitors water conservation in real time, Minister of Water Resources Li Guoying said on Tuesday at a press conference that explained China's achievements in the sector in the past decade.
Hydrological monitoring is carried out on all 5,186 small and medium-sized rivers with flood risks, and 430,000 water conservation information points have been set up across the country.
The time needed to collect and transmit rainfall and water condition monitoring information has been shortened from the previous one-hour level to the one-minute level at 110,000 state flood stations nationwide, according to Li.
The scale of this digitalization is the most extensive in the world, said experts.
A national water conservation map has been created to increase the efficiency of flood control, drought relief and water resource management. The map covers 16 million water conservation facilities in 55 categories, and it can be dynamically managed and updated online.
Simulations are increasingly being used to design and build drainage basins, water networks and hydraulic engineering facilities, confirming China's leading world position in this sector.
"We are building a smart water conservation system that will provide the functions of forecasting, early warnings and disaster relief planning, which will provide strong technical support to improve the nation's water security," said Li.
This effort involves the use of so-called "digital twin technology," which is based on constantly changing data collected from the real environment through sensors.
China is among the first countries to use "digital twins" in water conservation, Pan Helin, co-director of the Research Center for Digital Economics and Financial Innovation at Zhejiang University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"At present, 'digital twins' are mostly used in spacecraft, engineering equipment and urban management. Extending this technology supports and contributes to water conservation in China, especially in forecasting floods, issuing early warnings and formulating contingency plans for disasters," said Pan.
If there is a flood in a real river, the "virtual river" will issue an alert in advance through data feedback, said Pan.