The China-Europe Water Platform

The China Europe Water Platform (CEWP) promotes water cooperation between European nations (including the EU) and China’s Ministry of Water Resources. The network embodies a global response to pressing water and climate challenges.

One of CEWP’s main projects is the Sponge Cities. It addresses the issue of urban water resilience. Europe and China boast substantial experience implementing the Sponge City Concept (SCC). Their share experience fuels this partnership’s aim to tackle the common challenges of urban transformation. 

The project focuses on enhancing technological models and socio-economic assessment frameworks to generate a deep understanding of urban transformation.

Advancing China-Europe Cooperation: Rijkswaterstaat’s strategic priorities in water management

China, along with the United States, is high on Rijkswaterstaat’s list of international strategic priorities. As such, Rijkswaterstaat is also embracing other forms of cooperation with China on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Increasingly, Rijkswaterstaat is focusing on the link between rural and urban water management. It is also considering the intersection of these with broader environmental concerns, quality of life and spatial planning. This makes the Water and Urbanisation focus area particularly appealing for Rijkswaterstaat.

The China-Europe Water Alliance, through the EU and CEWP, sets out to:

  • intensify the broader water and climate dialogue with China
  • strengthen research and innovation
  • and promote the European water sector in China

The exchange of knowledge on models and assessment frameworks for SCC implementation makes the project particularly interesting for Rijkswaterstaat

Project period

The Sponge Cities project was completed in 2022, but the platform has been extended for another 4 years, until 2026.

European programme

The EU Partnership Initiative Programme is a broad, large-scale programme aimed at the EU’s neighbouring countries and emerging economies. The programme is providing 7 million euros for the CEWP work programme.

Project website

CEWP website


Rijkswaterstaat leads a European consortium that includes Danish, Swedish and Finnish (governmental) institutions under an EU contract. As part of the grant contract with the EU, contracts have also been concluded with knowledge institutions (Deltares and IHE for the Netherlands) and agreements have been drawn up with European cities (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Turku).

In China, there is direct cooperation with Beijing Water Authority, the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design and the Changde municipality. The Chinese Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development bear ultimate responsibility.