Home>News Center>China

Nation tries to counter water shortage
By Wu Gang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-26 00:35

Facing increasingly severe water shortages, China is considering raising water prices and investing heavily in water recycling programmes, environmental officials said at a news conference Thursday in Beijing.

"The central and local governments have all realized that water shortages have become a key constraint to the country's economic and social development," said Zhu Guangyao, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration.

To encourage people to save water, many cities are considering or have been raising water prices gradually.

Beijing, whose water price for civil use has jumped to 2.90 yuan (US$0.35) per cubic metre in the past few years, is expected to push that to about 5 yuan (US$0.60) in one or two years, said Zhu.

At the same time, in a countrywide bid to increase the efficiency of water use, a large number of used water treatment plants are under construction.

Half of the 70 billion yuan (US$14 billion) earmarked in the country's 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) for waste water treatment has been invested in building these plants, said Zhu.

There is also the problem of overuse of the underground water, which has resulted in the sinking of ground in some cities.

The problem not only occurred in the drier northern part of China, but also in southern cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi.

To halt the dangerous trend, Shanghai has been refilling underground water reservoirs. The cities around Taihu Lake have stopped exploiting of underground water.

"After years of efforts, together with the massive water diversion projects from the south to the north, I believe the underground water problem will be solved," said another deputy director of the administration Wang Jirong.

However, the administration's report on last year's environmental quality does not show a too optimistic picture of water resources in China.

Water pollution in Songhuajiang River in the north and Pearl River in the south were on the increase. More waters on the Yellow Sea was polluted near the coast.

The water quality in lakes like Taihu, Chaohu and Dianchi was graded as V, the second worst grade.

Wang said that about half of the 10th-Five-Year-Plan projects to deal with pollution in major rivers and lakes were not started yet, due to lack of funds and the increasing difficulty caused by worsening pollutions.

The environmental authority this year push for the projects to kick off as soon as possible while working to shut down those polluting factories along rivers and lakes, she said.

The report indicated that the air quality in cities is getting better, but "pollution was still serious."

The number of cities getting acid rain was on the increase last year across the country, with 265 cities reporting the harmful rain, accounting for 54.4 per cent of the 487 cities under monitoring.

The percentage of cities with an acid-rain frequency of more than 40 per cent grew to 7.2 last year.

Zhu also pointed out ecological problems are still prominent.

"The problem is that we are building the environment while ruining it at the same time, and the pace of building has not kept up with the damage," he said, adding that the protection work must take priority.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Lunar satellite to be launched in 2007



Japan told to release Chinese unconditionally



Taiwan "election" protesters keep vigil



UN sees problems, progress in nation's path



Improving minimum living subsidy mechanism



Nation tries to counter water shortage


  AIDs, HIV test free for pregnant women
  Taiwan "election" protesters keep vigil
  Improving minimum living subsidy mechanism
  Nation tries to counter water shortage
  Inner Mongolia quake injures 100
  Prison opens to visitors of all sorts
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Chen-Lu shootings a fabricated hoax or an amateurish bungling