© Xiaodong Sun/ WWF-UK

Taihu Lake Basin

Collective Action in the Taihu (Lake Tai) Basin

The textile sector is key to China’s economy with a total economic volume of about US$1 trillion. China’s textile exports comprise 25 percent of the country’s total exports and are valued at US$29 billion. Today, the country’s textile industry withdraws over 3 trillion liters of water, accounting for 8 percent of the total industrial water withdrawal and making textiles the fourth largest industrial water user.

Operating since 2011, this project was the first Water Stewardship project implemented by WWF. The Taihu Basin is home to a significant portion of China’s manufacturing, including 37 percent of textile production, and it comprises more than 50 national and provincial level industrial parks, 14 Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of international and domestic brands with nearly 10,000 textile printing and dyeing facilities.

This project aims to improve the conditions of the river basin by transforming the industrial sector. While initial efforts have focused on the textile sector, the project’s vision is broader and will expand to include additional sectors: “By 2030, prioritized sectors are working collectively to drive improved freshwater ecosystems and better water governance in key basins for a healthy/living Yangtze, and introduce best practice in WWF priority basins.”