First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


With careful management of eco-infrastructure, Jiaozhou is transforming into an adaptive and resilient city with flood protection creating new green spaces and economic benefits.

Jiaozhou City of Qingdao is improving the green infrastructure in the city to better utilize runoff, improve water quality and create a more liveable city. By harvesting rainwater and recycling water in a more intelligent way, it is possible to reduce the problems of water stress. By 2030, the city plans to scale up and making use of at least 80% of run-off water, storing it in sponge infrastructure and using it for non-potable demand such as toilets. By incorporating sponge infrastructure such as retention ponds and permeable surfaces into the city, green infrastructure now makes up almost half of the space in some areas.


Importantly, both flooding and drought resilience have been considered when
planning the improved adaptive nature of the city’s infrastructure. Dredging and rehabilitating channels, as well as increasing vegetation cover and designating wetland areas have all improved flood protection in the city, meaning that a 1 in 10-year flood will now only have an impact every 50 years. By 2021, these changes are predicted to bring economic benefits of CNY150 million.

Green and blue spaces will be well integrated into new build- ing projects in Jiaozhou. Designed to prevent flooding.
Green and blue spaces will be well integrated into new building projects in Jiaozhou.

The Challenge

Flooding and seawater intrusion poses serious threats to Jiaozhou’s urban environment. By developing sponge infrastructure, the urban environment is improving and becoming more resilient to climate change.


Economic  Rainwater harvesting and flood prevention bring economic benefit of CNY150 million per annum after 2021. The sponge infrastructure also creates new markets in carbon sequestration and raw material production.

Health  Prevention of sewer overflow reduces the risk of waterborne disease,  whilst less hard infrastructure reduces air and noise pollution.

Social  Green infrastructure creates new recreational spaces in the city and improves livability for residents.