China has a growing crisis of getting clean water where it is needed most, compounded by drought and a huge groundwater and coastal water pollution tragedy.
China is currently in its worst drought in more than half a century and the government has declared a “Red Alert.”
The Stateand Drought Relief Headquarters made the “Red Alert” determination, Xinhua said, because millions of acres of farmland for grain is all dried out, 4.3 million people face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.
At the international level, there is already concern about global wheat prices and food availability.
Ma Wenfeng of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants said, “The government has sufficient wheat reserves to stabilise the wheat market. China is unlikely to boost wheat imports much and therefore the direct impact on the international prices will be minimal.”
China has had a looming water crisis for more than a decade. Just to pull off the Olympics in Beijing this last summer, China had to build a complex series of water ways and aquaducts to feed the thirsty city. These projects contributed to the loss of farmland around Beijing which turned into desert near Beijing. The dry areas that were formerly farmlands made for an increase in blowing dust and sand in Beijing.
For more than a decade China has also been reporting increased chemical pollution of its ground water. As much as 80% of China’s ground water and wells now have high amounts of chemicals from fertilizers, insecticides and industrial plant run-off.
China’s poor sewage management has poisoned vast areas of coastal waters. The “green slime” in the Yellow Sea just prior to the Summer Olympics almost ended sail racing events. The slime comes when pollution causes th algae to “bloom.”
China’s drought is severe — threatening farms, crops and livlihoods.
But China’s bigger picture of poor water management, control, conservation and sewage management may be creating a long-term nightmare.
China already has a limit of 1 child per family as the population grows past 1.3 billion.
Above: The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China. Photo: Getty Images