Water shortage threatens China's growth

Updated: 2012-02-16 14:05


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BEIJING - China faces a tougher situation in water resources in the future as demand increases as the country further industrializes and urbanizes, an official said Thursday at a press conference.

Hu Siyi, vice minister of water resources, said water shortages, serious river pollution and the deteriorating aquatic ecology are "quite outstanding" and may threaten the country's sustainable growth.

With a population of 1.3 billion people, China now consumes more than 600 billion cubic meters of water a year, or about three-quarters of its exploitable water resources, Hu said.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, the average per capita water resources is only 2,100 cubic meters, or about 28 percent of the world's average level.

About two-thirds of Chinese cities are water-needy, while nearly 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water, leading to a national water shortage of over 50 billion cubic meters on average every year, Hu added.