Water Supply Management

Water Demand Management

The country's annual average precipitation per person (2,629 ㎥/person) accounts for about 16% of the global average (16,427 ㎥/person), but the country's annual water use per person is relatively high compared with other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The government has actively promoted Comprehensive Water Saving Measures including installation of water-saving devices, reusing wastewater, reforming water price, replacing outworn water supply pipelines etc. Such measures resulted in the saving of total 890 million tons of water by 2010. The economic effect was evaluated as total KRW 1.33 trillion which is the sum of KRW 691.7 billion of drinking water production cost (based on the average drinking water production cost at KRW 777 per ton in 2010), KRW 636.5 billion  of sewage treatment cost (applying average sewage treatment cost of KRW 715 per ton). In September, 2007, the ‘National Comprehensive Water Demand Management Measures’ were established, which include spreading water-saving devices in consumer-oriented manner, raising revenue water ratio (thereby reducing leakage ratio), reusing wastewater etc. Such measures resulted in additional saving of 228 million tons of drinking water during 2007-2010.

Moreover, spreading the habit of valuing and saving water as well as building extensive infrastructures has been encouraged to enhance the water-saving effects. For example, every year, the government holds World Water Day ceremony (March 22), operating the homepage "I Love Water" (www.ilovewater.or.kr), developing educational materials for children, delivering water newsletters, various education and pubic relations such as water loving and saving through media, and so on.

Local and multi-regional waterworks operators must establish ‘Comprehensive Water Demand Management Plan’ every five years and obtain the approval by the Ministry of Environment. The 1st Comprehensive Plan during 2007-2011 was established by every waterworks operators, and the approval & evaluation was completed, while 2nd Comprehensive Plan is being established and under approval. It was evaluated that total 223.4 million ㎥/year of water was saved during 2007-2009 by water demand management. To encourage water demand management at private sector, Water Supply and Waterworks Installation Act imposes a duty to distribute water-saving devices and to introduce water-consumption labelling. Since 2011, the water-consuming products have been required to display the water-consumption labels. It is estimated that 353.4 million tons of drinking water can be saved by 2020.

Hygiene and Safety Certification of Water Supply Materials and Products

To prevent contamination of drinking water during the distribution process, hygiene and safety standards were established for the potential hazardous compounds which can be leached from water supply materials and products (Water Supply and Waterworks Installation Act amended in 2006 and enforced in 2009). In addition, in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the standards and to manage the quality of water supply materials and products, Water Supply and Waterworks Installation Act was amended in 2010 and Hygiene and Safety Standards Certification System was established in May, 2011.  Those who want to manufacture or import water supply materials or products must obtain the hygiene & safety certification from the Minister of Environment. Otherwise, their manufacturing, import, distribution, and sales are prohibited.

Sewage and Animal Manure Management

Building Integrated Operation & Management System of Public Sewage Treatment Facilities

To fundamentally improve the water quality at the upstream areas of multi-purpose dams, KRW 1.17 trillion of national budget money was invested during 2004-2011 to the 28 cities and counties located at the upstream of multi-purpose dams including Soyang Dam. Total 434 public sewage treatment facilities were constructed or upgraded and the sewered population ratio at the upstream areas of the dams was increased from 27% in 2004 to 71.3% in 2011. By combining environmental technology (ET) and information technology (IT), Integrated Operation & Management System of Public Sewage Treatment Facilities was established at upstream areas of the dams, which enables the remote surveillance and control via internet network, thus realizing efficient financial investment and operation.

Starting in 2009, as part of Water Quality Improvement Measures on the Four Major Rivers, TP treatment facilities were installed at the WWTPs located in the watershed. From 2012, the effluent standard of TP was strengthened to one—tenth. For example, it was lowered from 2 mg/ℓ to 0.2 mg/ℓ at Water Conservation Zone. The water quality of effluents was analyzed for the 155 public WWTPs where TP treatment facilities were installed and operated as of May 2012. Compared with 2010, when the effluent standard was not strengthened yet, the water quality of the effluents were improved by greater than 83%. It reflects that stricter management of the effluents from public WWTPs and enhanced management of ecological safety greatly contributed to the safe water-use and the ecosystem conservation in public water.

To maximize the economical and operational efficiencies in the construction and management of WWTPs, Sewage Act was amended in February, 2012 and ‘Watershed-Sewage Maintenance Plan’ was introduced. It is planned to establish Watershed-Sewage Maintenance Plan at 30 watersheds by 2015. And the current separated sewage management systems will be integrated inter-regionally in the long run, which will result in about 10 integrated sewage management systems with 2 or 3 large regions.

Inducement of the Private Capital to the Sewage Project and Advancement of the Operation of Sewage System

For the area where the sewage project is urgently necessary but the available fund is limited, the private capital is induced to partially meet the budget of the local government. The private capital can help to complete the establishment of WWTPs and the maintenance of sewage pipelines. Total 101 projects with the private capital are carried out, and 78 projects of them are proposed by private sector while the others (23 projects) are announced by the government. The gross scale of the sewage projects reaches KRW 3.10 trillion, while KRW 844.7 billion of the private capital is invested. Besides, the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the sewage system has been partially open to the private sector for enhancing the specialty of O&M, creating jobs and fostering water industry through competition. The Sewage Act was amended to enable the private sector to carry out the technological diagnosis of the sewage system. Because the Public Sewage Management Agency Business Registration System will be introduced in February, 2013, the subordinate provisions including registration requirement are being prepared.

Water Reuse

While the storm water harvesting & reuse facilities and the wastewater reclamation & reuse facilities have been separately managed by the different laws, the integrated legal structure is established. The previous guidelines on storm water and wastewater reuse are merged as ‘Integrated Guidebook on the Installation and Management of Water Reuse Facilities’ (August 2011) and more systematic and efficient management is expected. Furthermore, ‘Water Reuse Master Plan’ was established in September 30, 2011, which presents the direction in national water reuse policies for ten years (2011-2020). It is the highest level of the national water reuse plan, and the expected results by 2020 are as follows – securing 2.52 billion tons of environment-friendly alternative water source, saving 1.1 billion tons of drinking water by the alternative water source, and fostering the related technology development and industries.

Policy to Transform Sewage Sludge into Energy

As the ocean dumping of sewage sludge was banned in 2012, the sludge treatment facilities under construction will be completed as soon as possible. The priority will be given to integrate the facilities’ operation multi-regionally rather than to construct new facilities. The integrated operation can increase the operational rate and decrease the treatment cost through the extension of the combined treatment of sewage sludge from neighboring areas. In this light, the project for building two sludge treatment facilities in Buyeo-gun and Hoengseong-gun was cancelled in 2012. The sludges generated from the two counties will be treated together with the sludges from neighboring Gyeryong City and Wonju City. It is expected that the construction and O&M cost will be reduced and the operational rate will be increased.

The economic assessment indicates that the sludge reduction at the source is more favorable than the sludge treatment after the generation. Hence, for the WWTPs with a certain capacity, the upgrading of the existing digesters or the construction of new digesters is being carried out to increase the treatment efficiency or to reduce the sludge volume, respectively. The ‘Life Cycle Assessment and Management Plan of Sludge Treatment Facilities’ will be provided to optimize the treatment technologies and to develop the construction & maintenance guidelines through the assessment of the entire processes including sludge treatment and reduction.

Drinking Water Management

Safe Drinking Water Management

The drinking water quality is secured by enforcing the drinking water quality standards for 58 items and by monitoring the contaminant candidates of 26 items. Pathogen and three DBPs such as bromate were newly added to the monitoring list in November, 2010, and the water quality standard for hazardous micro-pollutants was established in January, 2011. The accident response system  was prepared for securing safe and clean water supply in any circumstances.  Moreover, to upgrade the response system to radiation accidents, a ‘Routine Manual for the Emergency Response to the Radiation Accident at Neighboring Countries’ was prepared in February, 2012. And the response system such as alerting the radiation accident and emergency was established and the structures of the drinking water supply chain were reinforced.

As the hazardous micro-pollutants continue to increase in raw water of drinking water source, relevant measures are being prepared and applied. The water quality standard and the requirement of treatment technologies are going to be upgraded including the installation of the advanced water treatment for the micro-pollutants. Considering the international drinking water management systems, the domestic drinking water standard will be improved and the monitoring list of the contaminant candidates will be expanded. The drinking water quality standard is expected to cover the items of WHO Guidelines of Drinking Water by 2030. In addition, Public Reporting System on Drinking Water Quality was introduced. Every waterworks operator must analyze the drinking water quality quarterly, and the results are open to the public. The Public Reporting System is based on the compliance with drinking water quality standards, while turbidity and residual chlorine concentration are also considered. The system assesses not only DWTPs but also water supply pipeline network. By evaluating the waterworks operators and classifying them into four categories - Very Good, Good, Average, and Poor – the operators are expected to compete with each other for improving drinking water quality.

Management of the Bottled Spring Water

Since the bottled spring water is manufactured and provided for citizens' drinking water, the authorization requirements are strictly specified.

Because the groundwater is usually bottled, an institutional mechanism serves to prevent the over-abstraction of the groundwater. The proponent of the bottled spring water manufacturing is required to submit the Environmental Impact Assessment Report when the proponent applies for the authorization of the spring water abstraction. The authorization expires after five years. To guarantee the bottled water quality and protect citizens' health, the manufacturer must carry out the voluntary water quality test. In addition, the Ministry of Environment also tests the bottled water products collected from the market. If a product fails to meet the drinking water standard for the bottled water by the test, then the whole quantity of the target product must be taken off the shelf and discarded.

The Promotion of Water Industry

The government included the Promotion of Water Industry and its Entry to Oversea Markets in 5-Year Plan on Green Growth (September 2009). And Water Industry Promotion Strategy was established in October, 2010. Those policies result in certain achievement including the development of core technologies and multi-regional integration of water supply and sewage systems. As the advancement of water industry to overseas is not satisfactory, however, “Checkup On  the Promotion of Water Industry and its Entry to Oversea Markets” was carried out on May 23, 2012, and future measures were prepared.
Of all 13 detailed tasks in 3 categories established in July 2009 and October 2010, 10 tasks including development and commercialization of the core technologies, multi-regional integration of the water supply and sewage systems etc. are being implemented. The membrane filtration process which is developed by the domestic technology was applied to the Yeongdeungpo DWTP whose capacity is 50,000 tons/day (April 2011). It can be regarded as a successful model of technology transfer and commercialization.  To make an institutional foundation, Act on Promotion and Support of Water Reuse was enacted in June, 2010, which specifies the candidates required to install water reuse facilities and the installation standards. And the innovative advanced wastewater treatment technology (I3 system) was developed and applied to the Guri WWTPs whose capacity is 6,250 tons/day (May, 2011).

Promoting the water-specialized companies and creating the foundation of water industry make another set of achievements in water supply and sewage system sectors. For example, joint operations between public and private companies are expanded, the entrustment of public company to private sector is increased, human resources specializing in water industry are developed and the water industry statistics and portal information system was established. Furthermore, many efforts have been made for building international networks of domestic water industry through the feasibility study on the promotion of water industry to overseas, the support for the master-planning projects, Global Green-Biz Partnership, and the partnership building with Azerbaijan, Indonesia, and Algeria. Those efforts resulted in significant orders including WWTPs in Bihn Duong, Vietnam (March 2011; KRW 71.5 billion), WWTPs in Ain-Sefra, Algeria (October 2010; KRW 48 billion), wastewater reuse project in Azerbaijan (KRW 100 billion),  River "El Harrach" Restoration in Algeria (KRW 450 billion), and River “Ciliwung”  Restoration in Jakarta, Indonesia (about KRW 1 trillion). The next water industry policies will take aim at creating 130,000 jobs in water industry, exporting 6 billion dollars from water industry, and sharing 1% of global water market by 2017.

Last modified : 2013-10-23 17:57

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