Beijing Water

Alarm bells sound as China goes dry

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
August 22, 2006

‘Economic growth cannot be allowed to come at a steep environmental cost,’ says Ma Jun, author of a book on China’s water crisis. ‘It is time for the government to cope with the realities of declining water stocks.’

Beijing: China’s worst drought in a half-century is putting the spotlight on a far larger problem: Its water is running out. … Ma Jun, the author of a book on China’s water crisis, said government officials must change their thinking. ‘Local officials should be judged not just by how fast their local economies grow but also by how well they protect the environment,’ he said in an appeal published across China by Xinhua. Ma said a 62.5-billion-dollar project by the central government to divert water from the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River to the north would not solve the water crisis. He said priority needs to be given to conservation and more efficient use of water. The alternative, water watchdogs said, is not only the sacrifice of China’s galloping economy but also its ability to feed itself. ‘Water is the lifeline of a country’s economy and a regional economy,’ Ma said. ‘Economic growth cannot be allowed to come at a steep environmental cost. It is time for the government to cope with the realities of declining water stocks and their implications for the whole society.’

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