Beijing Water

PRESS RELEASE Beijing’s Water Crisis: 1949-2008 Olympics

June 26, 2008

Beijing’s Water Crisis: 1949-2008 Olympics

Read the full report [pdf]Download a map of Beijing Municipality Watershed [pdf]

June 26, 2008 — Press Release

Beijing’s Water Transfers Like ‘Quenching Thirst by Drinking Poison,’ Says Report

Beijing’s policy of draining surrounding regions to ease water shortages in the ancient capital is akin to “quenching thirst by drinking poison,” according to a new report by Probe International’s Beijing-based researchers.

To keep water flowing to Beijing’s “green” Olympics this August, the water-strapped city is pumping water from four newly-built reservoirs in nearby Hebei province, depriving poor farmers of water for their crops.

City officials insist the water is needed to supply Olympic venues and provide the Olympic Village with drinkable tapwater. And they say more water transfers will be needed from the Yangtze River by 2010 and beyond, to meet Beijing’s rapidly growing demand for water.

But large-scale water transfers won’t solve the fundamental problems facing Beijing, says the report, Beijing’s Water Crisis: 1949‚Äî2008 Olympics.

Nine consecutive years of below-average rainfall combined with rapid urban expansion, dumping of wastewater and sewage into Beijing’s waterways, and over-pumping of groundwater mean the city of 17 million people is fast exhausting its water supply. ¬≠

Rather than endless expansion of the city’s water supply by expropriating water from other jurisdictions, the report recommends better governance of water resources and the water industry ‚Äì including restrictions on urban development and water-guzzling industries, enforcement of anti-pollution laws, tradable water rights, and UK-style regulation of water utilities.

Download your copy of Beijing’s Water Crisis: 1949-2008 Olympics or to arrange interviews with the authors, CONTACT:

Grainne Ryder, Policy Director, Probe International
E-mail or Phone 1 416 964 9223 (ext 228)

Patricia Adams, Executive Director, Probe International
E-mail or Phone 1 416 964-9223 (ext 227)

Probe International is the publisher of Dai Qing’s 2008 Beijing Water Oral History Series available at Probe’s web site

Probe International is a Canadian public interest research group monitoring the economic and environmental effects of foreign aid and export credit, including the Canadian-financed Three Gorges dam. Probe works with independent researchers and citizens groups around the world to analyze the root causes of environmental problems, and promote the environmental rights of citizens. Probe International is a division of the Energy Probe Research Foundation.

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