Berlinwasser International

Who will quench China`s thirst?

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Courtesy of Courtesy of Berlinwasser International

There is enough water for everyone; yet, the challenges posed by ever-shrinking drinking water resources raise questions regarding their management and governance. If China's persistent growth continues, by 2010 it will consume 585 billion cubic metres of water per day – roughly equivalent to 1000 times the volume of water passing through Niagara Falls at high watermark. Will it be possible to quench the thirst of the world's second largest economy (measured in terms of buying power)?

Rich in Volume, Low in per Capita Availability Twenty per cent of the world's population lives in China, a country with just over five per cent of the world's total actual renewable water resources (TARWR) which is far below what is needed to adequately provide for the Chinese population. The UN estimates that TARWR per capita in China is 2,140 cu. m, which is barely above the water stress benchmark of 1,700 cu. m defined by the UN. In 16 of China's provinces, the per-capita water resources fall below even this mark. In Tianjin, Ningxia, Shanghai, Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi and Jiangsu there is less than 500 available cu. m of water per resident. In some arid parts of northern China, annual water
availability per capita drops to only 350-750 cu. m. According to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, about 48 million people (20.44 million in urban areas and 27.56 million in rural areas) lack sufficient drinking water every day.

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