China to reduce water consumption by 60% in a decade
Chinese water resource ministry is planning to cut water use by 60% by the time year 2020 comes around through more careful water management measures. Currently, ensuring adequate water supply is a problem for China. Many urban as well as rural areas are experiencing water shortages. Factors limiting water supply are overuse and pollution but severe droughts also have an effect.
This serves to remind us here in Canada just how precious of a resource water really is. Despite holding 7-20% of the world’s supply of fresh water, Canada should not be taking this important resource for granted. Water tariffs in Canada are a lot lower than in other countries around the world, with only about 40% of users even metered according to Wikipedia. Obviously, with a population 30-fold smaller than that of China and a less dynamic economy, Canada has a long way to go before experiencing the same water problems that China is going through. But, such relaxed measures around water resource management can lead to careless water use domestically, which can have long-term effects on the way people think about the limits of the nation’s water supplies.
The Chinese Water Resources Ministry plans to reduce consumption per unit of gross domestic product 60 percent by 2020, the minister said Saturday.
Chen Lui, addressing a conference in Guilin, said the first steps are controlling waste and tightening management of water resources.
The ministry said water consumption dipped 10 percent in 2008 from 2007. But officials also said two-thirds of the cities have water shortages and 200 million people living in rural areas -- around one-fifth of the population -- do not have adequate supplies of drinking water.
China is suffering its worst drought in 50 years, with almost 5 million people and more than 2 million head of livestock affected.
"We must take strict measures to preserve water resources in the face of the severe lack of water worsened by factors such as overuse, pollution and drought," Chen said.
Addressing a national conference on the water issue on Saturday in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Chen Lei, minister of the water resources, made it clear that water authorities throughout the country would draw red lines for controlling the total amount of water use in various sectors, the discharge of pollution into rivers, and the waste of water.
"Only in this way can we finally form a system of scientifically managing China's water resources, a critical natural and strategical factor for economic and social sustainability," he said.
Under the system, water-use quotas would be set for all users with higher prices had to be paid by those consuming more water than they needed by exceeding supply ration they had or even with the projects they launched to be concealed, insiders said.
And, instead of mainly supplying water for farming and industries as the country did decades before, more water supply would also be available for improving local environment or rehabilitating the fragile eco-system resulted from the lack of water supply in the years ahead for areas like shrinking wetlands.
China has four major water problems due to the uneven distribution of water resources throughout its territories: seasonal floods usually hit the south while persistent droughts often occur in the north, Gao Erqiang, an official with Chen said.
Meanwhile, soil erosion and water pollution along some rivers and lakes were once worsening in many areas with the rapid urbanization and economic development.
Water supply and sanitation in Canada is nearly universal and generally of good quality. It is a municipal responsibility under the regulation of the provincial governments, in partnership with the federal government. Water use in Canada is high compared to Europe, since water tariffs are low and 44% of users are not metered.
Canadian drinking water supplies are generally of excellent quality and supply is continuous