​Media Release

Ministerial meeting on water management and infrastructure

12 November 2015

Australia's Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, met with China's Minister for Water Resources, Chen Lei, today to discuss water—its value to communities, agriculture and the environment. 

Minister Joyce said his first meeting with Minister Chen was a chance to hear about China's experience in managing its water resources and to exchange ideas about key issues.  

"China manages its water for a range of national benefits including hydroelectric generation, agricultural production, and community and environmental outcomes—just as Australia does," Minister Joyce said. 

"It's the scale that is different. China has the largest number of dams in the world—around 89,000.  

"China also has the largest inter-basin water diversion project in the word. The South-North Water Diversion Project has, for the parts that are completed, a total storage of 750 billion cubic metres of water.  

"Minister Chen outlined how China recognises water as a precious resource just as Australia does and seeks to balance its many possible uses to deliver the greatest benefit to its communities, economy, and the environment.

"At the meeting I talked with Minister Chen about continuing our strong cooperation on water issues including maintaining high-level dialogue and international water engagement as well as looking for opportunities for officials to gain experience in water regulation and research in each country. 

 "Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth making strategic and sustainable water infrastructure investment essential. 

"The Australian Government has committed $500 million to a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund through the Northern Australia and Agricultural Competitiveness white papers. 

"We are looking at delivering new and augmented water infrastructure to increase water security and enable more efficient management of water resources. 

"We're also committed to delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to the shared benefit of agriculture, the basin communities and the environment," Minister Joyce said. 

Minister Joyce was in China as part of a North Asian visit to China, Korea and Japan from 12 November to 16 November 2015.