China: Worst Water Crisis In The World-Part 1

Due to severe drought bordering on cataclysm, poor management of resources, severe pollution, and an economic boom that cannot keep up with water demand or population growth, China now faces the worst water crisis in the world.

According to a government report:

300 million Chinese drink unsafe water tainted by chemicals.

90% of China's cities have polluted ground water.

CHINA: August 14, 2006

The dry river bed of the Changjiang River is seen in Yunyang county, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality August 12, 2006. More than 17 million people in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and the neighbouring Sichuan province are tortured by serious lack of adequate drinking water due to continuous droughts and searing heat, Xinhua News Agency reported. Picture taken August 12, 2006.

And currently, 17 million people are without water because of drought.

17 Million Without Water

BEIJING (Reuters) - About 17 million people in southwest China don't have access to clean drinking water due to sustained drought, state media reported on Sunday.

Crops on large tracts of farmland in Sichuan province and the nearby Chongqing municipality have withered due to the month-long drought, causing economic losses of 9.23 billion yuan ($1.15 billion), the Beijing News and the Xinhua news agency said.

Local governments have allocated funds to help residents fight the drought by tapping ground water and improving water conservation facilities, Xinhua said.

The searing heat meant 14 million people in Chongqing and three million in Sichuan lack clean drinking water, the media said.

State television showed pictures of trucks transporting water to the worst-hit areas and villagers digging wells.

The water level in the Chongqing section of the Yangtze river -- China's longest river -- hit 3.5 metres (11.5 feet), its lowest in 100 years, the online edition of state broadcaster CCTV said.
Is this the price humans must pay for economic expansion and indifference to our environment? And is it the economic expansion causing this crisis, or the fact that those responsible for maintaning water supplies for the people are too irresponsible and greedy?

China's infrastructure is in abysmal condition even though it's leaders promised clean water to its people. It would appear that China faces a calamity of untold proportions brought on by its own desire to be number one. Where have we seen this before?

The problems that plague China's water supply have been doing so for years, but never on this scale as irresponsibility, poor planning, massive pollution, waste, and the effects of climate change all work in tandem to undermine the economic growth China is experiencing. And at whose expense is this growth that is being squandered? The people of China, the species that live there, and our global environment.

China Mulling Raising Prices on Oil, Energy, Water

The government is now looking to raise prices on oil, energy, and water in an attempt to curtail waste. However, is this an effective way to curtail waste? Or will it simply burden small businesses and consumers unfairly? And what of the severe pollution plaguing China's waterways? The article above claimed that people desperate for water are digging wells... to access groundwater that is already polluted. This simply cannot go on and be sustainable to the people of China.

Also See:

China, Worst Water Crisis In The World

Global Warming Behind Killer Typhoons In China

In my next entry I will write more about the drought facing China, the rivers that run through it, the fallout from pollution that threatens all life especially in light of this severe drought, and actions organizations are taking to alleviate the suffering of those whose lives hang in the balance.