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Chinese planners and engineers are hard pressed to keep up with demands for working infrastructure. "Experts say that climate change has played a role in the increase of urban flooding, producing more rainfall during shorter periods. Besides that, rapid urbanization has outpaced stormwater removal."
The widespread adoption of rainwater capture techniques may alleviate drought as well as flooding. Enter the so-called 'sponge city.' "The new design aims to build up infrastructure to collect excess rainfall and integrate flood control in urban planning [...] When rain falls lightly, the water either filters down to the underground through permeable pavements or is soaked up by gardens designed to catch rain. Almost no rainwater flows into street gutters [...]"
President Xi Jinping has been quick to back the idea. "Earlier this year, the Chinese central government pledged to provide billions of dollars in financial assistance over the next three years, in an effort to help 16 cities morph into urban sponges."
Although installing rainwater capture infrastructure can be disruptive on the ground, residents reportedly approved of some initial measures when they successfully prevented flooding in their neighborhoods.