Beijing Water

Chinese impose rules for water use

Washington Post
August 3, 2006

‘We need to give priority to conservation because there is now inefficient use of water in agriculture, in the cities, in the urban and industrial uses along the [Yellow] river,’ says Ma Jun, author of China’s Water Crisis.

Beijing: For centuries, the Chinese have struggled through flood and drought to tame the Yellow River, known as the Mother River, birthplace of Chinese culture, writing and folktales. Now the government is tightening controls over the river’s precious contents. Authorities said a new law, which went into effect Tuesday, will allow for better management of resources and reduce the number of regional fights over water from the Yellow River. It will give the Water Resources Ministry the power to set plans for water usage for 11 provinces or municipalities along the 3,395-mile river, and it will impose sanctions or fines on officials who do not comply with regulations or who take more water than is allowed. … For years, overuse, pollution, drought and farming took their toll. The river dried up during 21 out of the 27 years between 1972 and 1999, officials said. At times, dry riverbed stretched for more than 372 miles. Only in the past five or six years has the river begun to reach the Bo Hai Gulf again, said Ma Jun, author of China’s Water Crisis. “To keep the river flowing, they need to work on the distribution of water. They have been monitoring that, and this regulation gives them more power to do that,” Ma said. “But the sediment and pollution problems still haven’t been solved.” “We need to give priority to conservation because there is now inefficient use of water in agriculture, in the cities, in the urban and industrial uses along the river,” Ma said. “The real cost will be much higher if we take into account the environmental costs. That part has not been seriously studied.”

Categories: Beijing Water

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