China, in his view, needs to “revive ancient wisdom and upgrade it,” setting aside natural spaces for water and greenery the way ancient farmers once did.
Under the program, Zhengzhou has built more than 3,000 miles of new drainage, eliminated 125 flood-prone areas and created hundreds of acres of new green spaces, according to an article in Zhengzhou Daily, a state-owned newspaper.
One such space is Diehu Park, or Butterfly Lake Park, where weeping willows and camphor trees surround an artificial lake. It opened only last October. It, too, was inundated last week.
“Sponges absorb water slowly, not fast,” Dai Chuanying, a maintenance worker at the park, said on Friday. “If there’s too much water, the sponge cannot absorb all of it.”
Even before this past week’s flooding, some had questioned the concept. After the city saw flooding in 2019, the China Youth Daily, a party-run newspaper, lamented that the heavy spending on the projects had not resulted in significant improvements.