Water Stress in Northern China

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

According to the World Bank report1, China is facing a more severe water crisis problem than ever: one in four Chinese people, nearly 300 million, has no access to safe drinking water today. China produces over 60 billion tons municipal and industrial wastewater per year, but less than 30 percent of the domestic wastewater is treated. As most of the 17,000 rural towns have no municipal wastewater treatment plant, wastewater is discharged directly into surface water bodies, resulting in extensive water pollution that further exaggerates water scarcity. Wastewater treatment and water pollution are becoming the country's biggest concerns.

In Northern China, where per capita water resources is only 10 percent of the world average, freshwater is scarce. There, the current water treatment facilities are aging, and fast-growing populations are in great need of new water supplies. China is investing more than $50 billion over the next five years to award new water projects and upgrade facilities. Thus, water is an highly valuable commodity for Northern China. New water resources and water supplies must be developed to confront the water shortage.

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