China to Spend Billions on Clean Water
The smog-filled skies in China may be terrifying, however the condition of the country's water and the level of pollution should be even more alarming.
In recent weeks, Chinese and Western media have been reporting on the shocking position in China regarding the availability of clean unpolluted water for both human consumption and agricultural. In 2011, Greenpeace Beijing reported that more than 8,000 people died prematurely due to pollution in just four major cities.
A recent report shows that up to 40% of China's rivers were seriously polluted last year, due to 75 billion tons of sewage and wastewater being discharged into them. Currently, nearly 300 million rural residents lack access to drinking water. Water scarcity has led to competition for limited water resources, resulting in reallocation of agricultural water to urban sectors, which puts irrigation under great pressure in many areas in the north. Water, which is needed for maintaining healthy environmental and ecosystems functions is being held back priority to meeting the demands of economic sector.
According to Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based "Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs" and author of China's Water Crisis, some 400 of China's cities are facing basic water shortages, including 100 that may see serious shortages. Just to meet the needs of its city dwellers, Ma estimates that the country needs another 40 billion cubic meters of water per year.
In 2005, water withdrawals were estimated at 554 cubic kilometres which were distributed to the following sectors; 65% agriculture, 23% industry and 12% domestic. China is home to 7% of the world's freshwater reserves; however it is home to 20% of the world's population. Not only does the deterioration of water quality threaten the safety and health of people but future plans of economic development and agriculture. Water shortage have already cost China as estimated $39 billion a year in lost crops, lower industrial production and stalled economic output. Factories have temporarily been closed down, salt water is seeping into low wells due falling water tables and the water is becoming more polluted. Constant disputes over water are breaking out as the water shortage crisis in China only looks to get worse.
Where is the Money Going:
China aims to spend $850 - billion to improve these filthy water supplies. Although, China has already spent $11.41 billion on water infrastructure, much of its water remains undrinkable. According to Zhou Lei, a fellow at Nanjing University, who has studied water pollution, China is still putting too much pressure on local resources. The huge cost suggests that prevention treatment remains the preferred solution.
China now needs to look at various different water sources to produce the quantity of quality water it will need in the near future. One of their options is importing bulk water from countries where water sources are in abundance. Arctic Blue Waters is prefect for this situation as the water source is one of the largest and closest to China. All needed infrastructure is in place to ship water with no time consuming and costly processes to be completed. What will particularly appeal to China, is that the water has not been contaminated by humans, thus not requiring the high cost of purification treatment in order to become drinking water. Arctic Blue Water's supply is renewable and can be provide in large volumes without huge capital expenditures for desalination plants.
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