Chinese cities fight severe water shortages : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Chinese cities fight severe water shortages Source: BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political Publication date: 2000-06-24

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency) Beijing, 24th June: China's cities are now facing mounting pressure as growing population and limited water resources threaten severe water shortages, according to the 26th issue of the weekly news magazine 'Outlook' ['Liaowang'], which will hit the news-stand Monday [26th June].

China's water resources per capita are about 2,300 tons, making up 25 per cent of the world's average. The United Nations has listed China among the 13 nations in the world with water shortages.

According to the latest statistics, some 400 of China's 668 cities are facing water shortages, and of the 400, more than 100 are facing serious water shortages.

With per capita water resources of 760 tons, Shanghai has been listed as one of the world's cities suffering from serious water shortages.

Even worse, per capita water resources are only 600 tons and 300 tons in Shenzhen and Beijing respectively.

Despite the serious situation, public awareness about protecting water resources and conserving water need to be improved.

A primary student from Beijing has conducted a voluntary investigation and found out that the car washing businesses in the Xicheng District in Beijing would use 1.314m tons of water each year. Car washing business in Beijing would dry up the Kunming Lake, a big lake in the city, in a year.

A survey conducted by this student showed that a dripping water tap would waste 36 tons of water a year.

Low price of tap water is another factor bringing about waste of water. For instance, an aquatic product businessman in a local free market only pays 100 yuan per month no matter how much water he uses. In most cases, however, they never turned off their taps.

Statistics show that because of poor quality of tap water pipes and other facilities, 60 per cent of tap water in the city is wasted.

The Chinese government has already started to seriously tackle the issue.

Last month, Beijing issued 26 measures on protecting water resources. For instance, water recycling drive will take place in all industries in the city.

The city government will gradually phase out old-type water taps. The new water-saving taps can be turned on and off easily.

Meanwhile, a water quota system has been enforced in some enterprises and residential areas in the city.

Water saving measures does not necessarily mean that the living standard will decline. Some developed countries including the US, Italy and Israel have taken various measures to encourage water saving.

By adopting current applicable techniques and means, the agricultural sector will save 10-50 per cent of water and the industry sector will save 40-90 per cent, with no negative effects on the economy and quality of living.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 24, 2000

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