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The Fenghuangcheng area in Guangming District, as a pioneering site for sponge city construction, helped ensure Shenzhen rank first among the second batch of pilot sponge cities in China at a recent assessment event of the cities.

Since April 2016, Guangming District has been exploring the construction of a sponge city in the Fenghuangcheng area and has developed a model of sponge city construction for the rest of the nation.

1. An overview of Fenghuangcheng
1. An overview of Fenghuangcheng

The Fenghuangcheng area is located in the southeast part of Guangming District and covers an area of 24.6 square kilometers, with the Dongkeng and Ejing branches of Maozhou River running through it.

As the Fenghuagncheng area is a less developed area in Shenzhen, its water infrastructure remains weak. With six urban villages and 64 old industrial areas scattered across the area, problems such as water pollution and waterlogging are serious concerns.

Meanwhile, the ongoing construction of Guangming Science City is bringing added pressure to ecological protection.

2. Sponge city construction in Fenghuangcheng
2. Sponge city construction in Fenghuangcheng

The sponge city construction in the Fenghuangcheng area follows a series of guidelines.

To protect the ecological environment in the area, the district has set up basic ecological control lines around certain areas of land and water and has demolished illegal buildings in the area.

In addition, the water infrastructure in the area has been improved with better water pollution treatment, the construction of a rainwater and sewage diversion pipeline network, better sewage treatment in urban villages and industrial areas and the construction of water treatment facilities.

Meanwhile, indexes concerning sponge city construction are considered and listed in the approval and review of each construction project.

Under the guidelines, ecological problems such as waterlogging, water pollution and heat island effect in the area have been greatly reduced.

waterlogging

water pollution

heat island effect has been alliviated

3. Guangming mode of sponge city construction
3. Guangming mode of sponge city construction

With three years of exploration, Guangming District has developed a mode of sponge city construction that can serve as a model for other cities in China.

(1) Promotion of the concept

To promote the concept of sponge city construction and motivate all individuals to be a part of the construction, the district has given training programs to government departments, enterprises, communities and schools while carrying out 18 programs in the area.

(2) Overall planning

In terms of planning, the district has incorporated land development, city renewal, urban village governance and infrastructure construction in the overall planning of sponge city construction with coordinated, systematic governance of the waters in the area.

Meanwhile, a three-level planning system was established that covers 14 key industrial programs, industrial parks of over 2 million square meters and three urban villages. Over eight square kilometers of land and 3.8 square kilometers of water are under basic ecological control, in addition to newly added greenways of 47 kilometers and newly released coastal ecological spaces of 40 hectares.

(3) Problem-targeted governance

To solve problems such as water pollution and waterlogging, the district has made great efforts in improving the rainwater and sewage diversion pipeline network.

In total, it has renovated 69 residence estates and industrial zones as well as five urban villages, and completely solved the waterlogging problem at six sites.

Additionally, a sewage pipeline network of 282 kilometers in length was added, while the water pollution of seven branches of different rivers was eliminated.

(4) Strict control on construction projects

Indexes concerning the sponge city construction are listed into government documents for the review and approval of construction projects. A strict mechanism is established on the control and management of construction projects.

(5) Strict control on public sewer users

A total of 417 staff members with the water affair authority are allocated to 31 communities. They have visited more than 7,000 public sewer users, detected and corrected 434 misbehaviors among the users, and investigated and punished 255 users.

(6) Integration of sewage and wastewater treatment

The Fenghuangcheng area has integrated the sewage pipeline network and wastewater treatment plant to facilitate a multifunctional sponge city system. In 2019, the district's wastewater treatment plant saw an increase of 94.1 percent in wastewater inflow than 2017, as the concentration of CODcr, BOD5 and ammonia nitrogen in the wastewater has respectively increased by 145.6, 113, and 60.6 percent.

(7) Application of data analysis

All indexes are monitored to reflect the results of sponge city construction in tandem with data analysis. A total of 155 sites are monitored online, with 50,000 pieces of data collected on a daily basis, and 3,976 samples of water are tested. A simulation model shows that the annual runoff control rate in the area reaches 72 percent and the reduction rate of diffuse pollution (calculated on the basis of suspended solids) reaches 62 percent.

(8) Resident-oriented work mechanism

A work mechanism based on residents' needs is established to solve problems in the renovation of urban villages, including combined sewer systems, unregulated sewage and waste sewage systems.

(9) Work based on local conditions

A localized model calibration system is established to analyze the water quality and quantity of 10 source-control facilities, perform online monitoring of the outfalls into main streams and branches of rivers, and quantify the relations between the tasks and targets of 75 construction tasks.

(10) Comprehensive work to facilitate sponge city construction

In addition to water pollution treatment, Guangming District has also made efforts to reduce air pollution, create urban green spaces and protect the natural environment.

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