Beijing Water

China’s murky waters

BBC News Online
August 31, 2002

An alert about industrial pollution threatening the Chinese city of Harbin has cast the spotlight on the huge challenge China faces improving its water system.


In the forested hills above the smoggy central Chinese city of Chongqing, a tiny brook trickles through the tall bamboo. It is called the Qingshuixi, or “pure stream”. Among the trees, a metre-high concrete dam forms a pool that holds around a barrel of clear water. This is the reservoir for over 30 households who live 100 metres downhill and collect their supplies in buckets. In a country where booming headlines boast near-double digit growth, this may seem primitive. But the families here are actually lucky, and certainly better off than the Chinese government’s estimate of 360 million people who lack access to safe drinking water. Beijing says 70% of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted – and more than 100 cities suffer from extreme water shortages. The Qingshuixi provides a classic example of what China’s authorities are up against. Once out of the trees, the stream runs through Shandong – a low-income, hillside suburb of Chongqing.

Categories: Beijing Water

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