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China speeds up water-saving efforts before possible water crisis
Latest Updated by 2006-03-13 11:25:23
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China is striving to build a water-saving society and curb water pollution as it experiences water shortages and a possible water crisis amid its soaring economic growth.


"Shortage of water and droughts are an essential characteristic of China," said Minister of Water Resources Wang Shuchen at an ongoing annual meeting of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body.


South China is rich in water while the vast northern area is extremely dry.


According to a water ministry annual report, the total volume of water resources in China was 2.4 trillion stere in 2004, a decrease of 12.9 percent from 2003.


Local analysts expect the per capita of water resources in China will fall to 1,760 stere in 2030, when the 1.4 billion population increases to 1.6 billion.


"The 1,700 stere per capita volume divides water-sufficient from water- short countries," said Qian Zhengying, a prestigious Chinese scientist who has led a group of senior researchers to work out a report on the sustainable development of water resources in China.


More than 300 cities and 22 million Chinese people experienced shortages of water due to droughts in the last five years.


The annual industrial loss caused by water shortages hit 200 billion yuan (about 25 billion U.S. dollars). Food production is also influenced by water shortage.


Water pollution has exacerbated the situation. According to a report by the Ministry of Water Resources, about 40 percent of water in the country's 1,300 rivers can be used only for industrial or agricultural purposes, not for drinking.


To cope with the situation, China has formulated a new idea, which emphasizes management and the scientific use of water resources.


The draft of the 11th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, which is scheduled to be adopted by the current session of the Tenth National People's Congress, highlighted the importance of water management.


The draft noted that China should transfer its focus from exploration of water resources to the saving, protection and proper distribution of water.


Chinese government also took ambitious move to deal with the problem.


China has launched a South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the world's largest water diversion project, to transfer water from the rainy south to the dry north via existing or new rivers, channels and reservoirs.


All the three thousand-kilometer-long routes of the projects will be completed or kicked off in the next five years.


The State Council issued a new regulation earlier this year on the licence and fees for water, which detailed the procedure and regulated the collection and distribution of fees.


Chinese mega-cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai have also taken measures, including subsidizing water-saving taps or toilets, to educating and helping citizens save water.


Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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