North China Urban Water Shortage : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

North China Handling Urban Water Shortage Source: Xinhua News Agency - CEIS Publication date: 2001-04-10 Arrival time: 2001-04-11

Li Mifang, a young woman living in Jinan, the capital of east China's Shandong Province, has acquired a habit of recycling the water in her house: The water she uses for washing vegetables is later used to rinse out her mop and to flush the toilet. It is not that water in her residential block has been in particularly low supply, she just wants to be environmentally conscious. "Most cities in northern China are suffering from water shortage. Saving water is good for all of us," she said.

Once known as "the city of fountains," Jinan hasn't had a flowing fountain for years now. And with less water from the Yellow River, the supply of drinking water for local residents has become a matter of public concern in the city.

Even in beautiful coastal cities such as Yantai and Weihai, getting enough water has become a headache for local governments. Since the early 1990s, Yantai has been imposing a rotational water limitation to ensure normal supply for critical departments.

To relieve the widespread water shortage in the north, the Chinese government is planning an ambitious project that will divert water from the south to the north.

While such a project may take years to materialize, authorities in many cities have embarked on policies encouraging or enforcing water- saving measures.

In Jinan, the provincial government has announced that unlicensed exploitation of ground water will result in stiff punishment.

Lanzhou, Shijiazhuang and other cities have imposed restrictions on water use at public bath houses.

In Yantai, water-saving measures have cut the city's water consumption from 270,000 cubic meters in 1999 to the current 120, 000 cubic meters. The city is now recycling 72 percent of its used water, compared with 30 percent two decades ago.

It cost the city 267 tons of water to produce every 10,000 yuan worth of products in 1980. Now the figure has dropped to 18 tons.

With the public's water awareness improving, providers of water- saving technologies and products have reported rising sales.

Economists and environmental experts are calling for the promotion of water-saving technologies and a restructuring of local economies to make northern cities more water-efficient.

-- Carl Jenkins (, April 11, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ