The water crisis in China is deepening. The situation in North China is worse than in Arab countries. This water crisis of China can also be scary for other countries of Asia. As Gopal Reddy says China has 20% of the world’s population, but it has only 7% of the water. Thousands of China’s rivers have disappeared, while industrialization and pollution have made the remaining water useless.
According to some estimates, 80 to 90% of China’s groundwater and half of its river water is not potable. More than half of groundwater and one-fourth of river water is so polluted that it cannot even be used for industries or agriculture. Experts estimate that China is losing more than $100 billion (Rs 7.43 lakh crore) annually due to water scarcity. Due to this, a large part of the agricultural land is being made in the desert.
Government measures are also falling short The
Chinese government has promoted rationing and improved water efficiency, but this is not enough to stop the crisis. In December itself, Chinese officials announced that Guangzhou and Shenzhen would face severe drought next year. While these two regions are the major cities of the relatively water-rich Pearl River Delta. In 2005, then-prime minister of China Wen Jiabao said that the water shortage had “threatened the existence of the Chinese nation”. The Minister of Water Resources declared that China should ‘fight for every drop of water’.
Crisis for neighboring countries
Most of China’s fresh water is concentrated in areas like Tibet. China has triggered repeated droughts and devastating floods in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Laos by building a series of giant dams on the Mekong River. The diversion of rivers in Xinjiang has had devastating effects in Central-Asia.
China’s dams in rivers originating in the Himalayas pose a growing threat to
China’s plan to dam major watercourses (Brahmaputra River) before reaching India. This has hurt India and Bangladesh. Brahm Chelani, an Indian strategic analyst, says, “There have been evasive attempts to optimize water resources in international river basins, along with China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea and the Himalayas.” In other words, the more thirsty China is, the more geopolitically the crisis can escalate.