The Taihu (Tai lake) region is one of the most economically prospering areas of China. Due to its location within this district of high anthropogenic activities, Taihu represents a drastic example of water pollution with nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate), organic contaminants and heavy metals. High nutrient levels combined with very shallow water create large eutrophication problems, threatening the drinking water supply of the surrounding cities. Within the international research project SIGN (SinoGerman Water Supply Network, www.water-sign.de), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), a powerful consortium of fifteen German partners is working on the overall aim of assuring good water quality from the source to the tap by taking the whole water cycle into account: The diverse research topics range from future proof strategies for urban catchment, innovative monitoring and early warning approaches for lake and drinking water, control and use of biological degradation processes, efficient water treatment technologies, adapted water distribution up to promoting sector policy by good governance. The implementation in China is warranted, since the leading Chinese research institutes as well as the most important local stakeholders, e.g. water suppliers, are involved.
Keywords: Biodegradation; Blue-green algae; Governance; Isotope fractionation; Leakage detection; Membrane filtration; Monitoring; Network flushing; Urban catchment; Water management.