Chinese Water Problem

The rapid population increase in China is causing major problems, the main one being that their primary water source is running dry. “China has 20% of the earths population and only 7% of the earths water resources,” and their water use has increased 15 fold in the past fifty years.  . The Chinese style of “wasteful economic growth” is also adding to this crisis.  Water is a slowly replaced resource that cannot be bought or traded for like oil, the water problem cannot be solved by trading for it. In China, political officials are faced with many tough choices on how to deal with the problem. There is an unbalanced water supply, with “4/5ths of the water in the south” of China that industries, agriculture, and suburbia fights for the available water.

Many of the Chinese farmers are dependent on grain. The Chinese government has preached that farmres should be self-sufficient on grain, but grain requires alot of underground water. This causes many of their aquifers to deplete quickly. Many environmentalists disagree with their plans to farm and to be self-sustained.  They say that these aquifers need to be protected by restricting their use. The only way to increase the available water in an aquifer is to stop using it and let it recharge. Doing this would likely ruin farms, especially those whose sole product is grain. Not only this but it would cause the international price of grain to increase greatly.

Another major problem the Chinese deal with when considering their water supply is pollution. There might be access to water in China, but not very much of it is considered clean water. ” A major water pollution incident happens every other day” in China. A “major” incident sounds pretty bad, although there was not statistic to describe how much pollution there needs to be to make an incident serious. Anyway this was disturbing to me.  Many companies just dump their waste into rivers and streams because there are such slack laws on waste disposal.  Many people believe that if this rate of pollution continues soon China will reach a point where nothing can be done to solve this problem.

Many cities are starting to take steps towards the conservation of water. Promoting growth has always been the Chinese way of economics but now they must find a way to decrease their use of water. They have just begun the South to North water transfer project that is set to bring about 15 trillion gallons of water to the drying North China. This water would be brought in via the Yangtze River, where there is much water. There are supposed to be three lines, two of which are already under construction. The third line is yet to begin because of pollution issues.

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