City water shortage top problem

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-24 07:21

Water shortage has become the top problem facing China's rapid urbanization, as about two thirds of its 661 cities face this problem, China News Agency quoted a source from the Ministry of Water Resources as saying.

Among more than 400 cities with water shortage problems, about 100 are in serious trouble, lacking enough water to support people's lives and industrial operations.

Worse, water pollution has made clean water more rare.

More than 70 billion tons of wastewater were released last year, with about 45 billion tons pumped into lakes and rivers without any treatment.

Ministry figures show that 90 per cent of surface runoff in the country is polluted.

The ministry issued a regulation recently that called for strengthening of the work of urban water affairs to meet the increasing demands of speedy urban development, according to China News Agency.

It is said that the work should focus on controlling excessive urban development and avoiding high water-consumption industries and large-scale artificial water landscapes.

Groundwater needs to be exploited in a sustainable way, according to the regulation.

Pre-warning and emergency system for urban water crisis is demanded by the regulation.

Ministry figures showed that among some 600 cities at risk from floods, only 40 per cent have flood defences that meet national standard.

The ministry, in the regulation, has resorted to market-driven water pricing to cure its water shortage headache.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released a new regulation on the supervision of water pricing on November 13 to clarify what can and cannot be included in the cost of water supply .

The NDRC regulation suggested that the price of water should be based on the cost of water supply, which comprises the costs of tapping water resources, providing running water, constructing pipes and treating sewage.

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