The Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province has announced a project for the construction of a new sewage system on 31, March, 2017. The project is expected to protect Erhai Lake from environmental degradation
Erhai Lake is the second largest fresh water lake in Yunnan Province. The lake is also considered a "hidden gem" for its pristine scenery and the traditional culture of its ethnic Bai people. It is also the main source of fresh water for locals. The lake is capable of supporting 200,000 to 500,000 people. But there are about 860,000 people living around the lake.
A national quality survey found that the area's pollution had grown by more than half since 2004. Pollution levels have increased because of the number of restaurants and hotels opening near the lake.
About 1,800 businesses, most of them hotels and restaurants, near the "core" of the lake were ordered to close on April 11 as the government began inspections of operating certificates. Businesses lacking the proper paperwork will be forced to close until January 2018 when a new water and sewage treatment plant is expected to be completed. Officials have said current waste treatment systems in the area are not sufficient for the growing number of people who come to visit the lake.