China has had many problems over the last few years, including smog, corruption and problems with human rights, but it seems that the one that is on the increase is the shortage of water. Climate change along with the expanse of the Gobi desert is being blamed as is the amount of water that is being used as China builds and develops in the East.
Although figures show that the Chines do not use as much water per day as an American, there is a lot less recycled and this is causing a lot of the problem. As China has a larger population to start with, it is clear that this situation cannot be allowed to continue.
It is a major problem for China as they are not in a position to continue using water this way as there is so much needed both for residential use and the production of coal. While others are also using more water than they can justify and recycle far too little, China is way and beyond the worst culprit.
The big question that everyone is now asking, is “can China change its habits?” They have recently been warned by the WWF that they are helping to deplete the water supply too quickly. Fortunately it appears that there is notice being taken and while there are concerns about the speed of the changes it could be that there will at least be a slowing down until a more sustainable answer is found.
At least it appears that the dependence on coal is being addressed as there has been a number of contracts signed which will mean that natural gas will play a part in the heating plans. Looking forward it seems that the plans are to build pipelines through the country and come to a stage when coal is a minor part of the system.
For nearly 100 years, Chinese rulers have looked for ways to provide water ranging from water channels to more recently hydropower dams. The problem has been that often more harm than good was done.
One more attempt is to be made it has been announced and that is the cross country – north to south – scheme. Water from the Southern rivers will be used in the North but it is estimated that it is a 35 year program.
So far little has been said about the future for the up to 345,000 who will have to leave their homes and historical sites will suffer. The most worrying aspect is that there are not as yet detailed plans as to the outcomes and any side effects that are bound to be suffered.