Experts fear Lintao’s dry-up is a sign of things to come. Probe International fellow and noted Chinese environmental journalist, Dai Qing, says China’s water scarcity and toxicity is the greatest danger facing her country today.
Journalist Sharron Lovell’s gallery of striking images portray the losing end of China’s massive water transfer scheme to alleviate some by taking from others.
Low water levels and stranded boats on the upper Mekong River — although, nothing new for a February in recent years — are once again stirring concerns over China’s dam-building program to the north. What is new is the apparent readiness of Chinese authorities to give an account of their actions to rectify the situation. The Lowy Interpreter reports.
Late last year, Mu Lan, the editor of Probe International’s Three Gorges Probe news service in Chinese, followed the central leg of China’s massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project with his camera as it made its way from Hubei Province to Beijing, the project’s ultimate destination.
The Chinese government’s $97-billion pledge to clean up the country’s dire water situation has afforded foreign water firms market opportunities typically denied them in the past. Even so, roadblocks still prevail as China continues to put the breaks on importing the international expertise it needs to help with its water recovery.
Chinese citizens and industry are both willing to do their part to help turnaround the country’s water crisis, according to a new survey, but they don’t see how without a mechanism that allows the government, industry and end users to work together. Could that missing mechanism be market discipline, rule of law and citizen empowerment?
China will soon turn on the taps of the world’s biggest water-diversion project.
While there is no doubt China’s industry-heavy northeast is parched, some critics say China’s geo-engineering South-North Water Diversion project is yet another example of China trying to engineer its way out of a problem that could be largely solved through better policies, such as a tiered pricing system for water and better monitoring. Stian Reklev for Reuters reports.
Read in full Patricia Adams’ closing address to the International Symposium on China’s Environmental Crisis: Is There a Way Out? A resounding “Yes!” says Ms. Adams. “Give power to the people”.
(May 27, 2014) Another excellent entry in a growing number of critiques examining China’s South-to-North Water Diversion project and the controversial geo-engineering giant’s large-scale problems.
(April 24, 2014) Chinadialogue’s Beijing editor Liu Jianqiang reviews China’s newly revised environmental protection law which comes into effect in 2015 and represents the first time the law has been revised in 25 years. The new law provides authorities with the tools to dole out harsher punishments and sanctions to polluters, including more heat for officials found to be falsifying data and ducking environmental impact assessments. Under the new law, individual citizens still will not be able to initiate public interest lawsuits and although NGOs will be able to pursue litigation, the number permitted to do so has been capped, most likely in order to prevent a flood of environmental lawsuits in local courts and local authorities from being sued too frequently — which raises the question: what is the point of the law? In any case, says Mr. Liu, China’s environmental problems cannot be blamed solely on the lack of a powerful law but are more “the consequence of weak implementation and failure to hold officials accountable for rampant pollution and ecological destruction. … What good is perfect legislation if our authorities fail to implement it? China’s new law cannot answer this question.”
(October 12, 2013) This Economist report looks at the gravity of China’s water crisis, once summed up by Wang Shucheng, a former water minister as: “To fight for every drop of water or die: that is the challenge facing China.”
(October 16, 2012) A new report by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) warns that water shortages in China could undermine power production by water-intensive thermal generators and hydro dams, putting economic growth at risk, especially in the metals and mining, utilities, and manufacturing sectors. Allocating water resources by decree in China’s planned economy is unlikely to work, predicts HSBC’s strategist Wai-Shin Chan. Investors should beware and attempt to estimate the effect of looming shortages on the life of their assets: without water security, investors could be left stranded.
(May 17, 2012) News of a nationwide survey on the precarious safety of China’s drinking water has brought an already volatile issue to the forefront of public concern, in part because the survey was never made public.
(August 18, 2011) “The Yangtze River will run dry” because engineers have gone wild, building so many dams that the amount of water needed to fill all the reservoirs along the Yangtze would exceed the flow of the river. So says “A Mighty River Runs Dry,” a new study by geologist Fan Xiao of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in China. Because there isn’t enough water in the Yangtze to fill all the dams to their designed capacity during the impoundment period each year, “an enormous waste of money” will result, with potentially staggering losses to China’s economy, 40 per cent of which comes from agriculture, fishing, industry and shipping along the Yangtze.