Is water China’s Achilles heel?
The BL thinks it might be.
China faces the same issues as everyone else in relation to water: growing population, more extreme weather events, and ageing infrastructure.
Back in 2005, then Premier Wen Jiabao said that water scarcity threatened the very survival of the Chinese nation.
China’s rate of growth, particularly its industrial growth, means a water shortage. The country is still heavily reliant on coal fired power stations which are very water-intensive.
There are two fundamental imbalances: while China has 20% of the world’s population, it only has 7% of the world’s fresh water; and 80% of China’s water supply comes from the region south of the Yangtze River, but only half of the country’s population lives there, whilst the North China Plain accounts for more than 40% of the country’s population, but has less than 15% of the country’s water resources.
What water there is is rapidly becoming polluted. The Borgen Report says that half of China’s population cannot access water that is safe for human consumption and two-thirds of China’s rural population relies on tainted water.
In China it seems that the water they drink is every bit as dangerous as the air they breathe.
China is heading for a water crisis of unimaginable magnitude.