Energy/Water Nexus

What do you think China can do to confront water scarcity and energy demand?

Kiran Pereira
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Started by Kiran Pereira on
13 Feb 2013 at 06:14
Know-how: Climate Change & Sustainability Services, Sustainable Development , Business Strategy, Policy Analysis & Adaptation, Water-Energy Nexus

 

From toys in your local toy store to cosmetics sold in Paris, today it is hard to find things that are not manufactured in China. The lifestyles of many people in the world depend on how this country manages its resources, particularly water resources. A recent blog based on an article by Greenpeace highlights some significant points of concern:

"'Greenpeace found that the fast pace of water consumption by coal and chemical industries in the area is drying up all water resources further downstream. In fact, by 2015, water consumption by coal and chemical industry in China’s dry, western areas is set to use up a whopping quarter of the water flowing annually in the nearby Yellow River, which forms much of the border of Shanxi Province and is popularly known as China’s “Mother River,"

"Water is a key challenge for the country as the racing economy guzzles it faster and faster. In the last 40 years, 13 percent of China’s lakes have disappeared, half its coastal wetlands have been lost to reclamation and 50 percent of cities left without drinking water that meets acceptable hygienic standards, the World Wildlife Fund said, according to another article in chinadialogue. The United Nations has singled China out as one of 13 countries with extreme water shortages." 

Read the original article @ http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/worse-than-poisoned-water-dwindling-water-in-chinas-north-and-west/

CHOKE POINT CHINA - Another significant study led by Circle of Blue and other organizations also share similar stories. China's demand for energy (particularly coal) is outstripping its freshwater supply. 

"Though China’s economy has grown almost eight-fold since the mid-1990s, water consumption has increased 15 percent, or 1 percent annually." 

Apparently, China’s globally significant choke point is being caused by three converging trends of 

  1. Increased production of coal
  2. Increased water consumption
  3. Reduction in total water resources in China attributed to climate change

Are the Chinese taking any measures?

"China’s major cities, including Beijing, are retrofitting their sewage treatment systems to recycle wastewater for use in washing clothes, flushing toilets, and other grey-water applications." 

But is this enough?

To find out more, visit Choke Point China @ http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2011/world/choke-point-chinaconfronting-water-scarcity-and-energy-demand-in-the-worlds-largest-country/ 

What do you think China can do to confront water scarcity and energy demand?

Comments

Paula Hanasz
Good question! Are dams the answer? (i'm advocating for hydropower, but i would be interested in what others think)
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