UPI in English  |   UPI Arabic  |   UPI en Español  |   UPIU

China facing looming water shortages

Published By United Press International
BEIJING, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- China is one of 13 countries with extreme water shortages and the situation is made worse by widespread water pollution, experts say.

With 20 percent of the world's population but with only 6 percent of the world's water resources, China's strong economic growth has come at a cost to the environment, the experts said.

The Yangtze River flows an ominous blood red from industrial pollution, experts said, while chronic droughts plague important agricultural regions.

Guo Peiyuan, general manager of a Beijing corporate sustainability consulting firm, has seen the problem up close.

"I was born in a farmer's family in southern China and there are a lot of rivers there," he told CNN. "When I was a child we could swim in the river. But as I grew up in the 1990s, a lot of factories came in.

"One summer vacation I went to my hometown and my mother told me that the local farmers would not use the water for the crops because water was polluted and the vegetables would die."

There are concerns the water crisis will worsen in coming years.

In Beijing the amount water available per person is just 1-10th of the U.N. standard of 1,000 cubic meters, a threshold used to measure chronic water shortage, CNN reported.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Photo Gallery
1 of 1
Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa