A thorough post on the issue of China’s water crisis tied with China’s economic development from Ying Jia’s blog:
China’s economic miracles in the last three decades have brought 400 million people out of poverty and to higher qualities of life. China’s transformation from an “autarkic relationship with the international system, characterized by low levels of trade, scientific exchange and foreign investment,” into a highly engaged player in global commerce and transnational exchange has pushed up their ranking on the World Development Index, from 108th to 75th (Zweig). The country’s spectacular rise has no parallel in history, but beneath this success story, the costs on China’s environment and human toll are paramount. No industrial power in history can emerge without creating a legacy of environmental damage that can take decades to correct (Kahn). Among the many problems in China’s epic environmental crisis, the one that certainly necessitate immediate attention is the country’s dwindling water supply. Water scarcity is largely a product of China’s wasteful style of economic growth. A World Bank research study showed that in the period 2001-2005, 54 percent of China’s seven main rivers were deemed unsafe for human consumption (World Bank). The dual problems of water scarcity and water pollution have serious implications for China’s economy, human health and even global prosperity if it continues to be ignored. Although the Chinese government has recognized the seriousness of water degradation, the top-down measures it has adopted remained internally flawed. Instead, genuine improvement in the water crisis can only come about from revolutionary bottom-up political and economic reforms and with the empowerment of international government organizations and local individuals.