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Reviewing the Poyang Lake Hydraulic Project Based on Humans’ Changing Cognition of Water Conservancy Projects

Wu, Yao, Guo, Lidan, Xia, Ziqiang, Jing, Peiran, Chunyu, Xunzhou
Sustainability 2019 v.11 no.9
cognition, ecosystems, freshwater lakes, governance, human development, humans, rivers, socioeconomic development, water conservation
Water conservancy projects occupy an extremely important status in human development history. Human cognition about water conservancy projects has been in constant evolution along with the changing relationship between humans and nature (water). Based on a literature review, this study provides a systemic summary of the evolution of the human need for water resources and of water conservancy projects, as well as the equilibrium between humans and nature (river and lake ecosystems). More importantly, the transformation of cognition concerning the governance of nature and river and lake ecosystems is reviewed. Taking the perspective of modern rationalism on water conservancy projects, four major changes in human cognition are identified. Further, the most salient water-related issues arising from China’s largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake, are analyzed and the history and predicament of its governance are described. This is accompanied by a discussion on the countermeasures. Finally, based on the evolution of the human–water relationship and cognitive transformation concerning water conservancy projects, several suggestions are proposed for the planned construction of the Poyang Lake Hydraulic Project. The conclusions of this paper shed new light on the principles of water governance and water conservancy project construction in a new era that has witnessed a growing conflict between socioeconomic development and the water environment. Our suggestions are also valuable for the governance of Poyang Lake.