August 7, 2009
In an unusual move, Beijing’s Office of Legislative Affairs has invited the capital city’s residents to comment on a proposed fee schedule for “renewable” water or recycled water. Beijing has a serious water shortage with a deficit of 400 million cubic metres (consumption over replenishment) and a dangerous depletion of the city’s groundwater that is causing the water table to drop by about 1/2 a meter every year and subsidence of city by almost .8 metres.
Land subsidence is the gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface owing to subsurface movement of earth materials. According to the United States Geological Survey, the compaction of unconsolidated aquifer systems that can accompany excessive ground-water pumping is by far the single largest cause of subsidence.
Beijing residents are already among the world’s most water frugal, using an estimated 1/30 of the world average, “so every drop counts” says Patricia Adams, Executive Director of Probe International which published a report last year about Beijing’s water crisis.
In that report, Probe and Chinese hydrology experts argued for greater transparency about Beijing’s water supply and use, and for reformed pricing regimes to reward conservation and ease the crisis.
Categories: Beijing Water