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China's looming water crisis

Source(s):  China Dialogue

China has 20% of the world’s population but only 7% of its water. This problem is exacerbated by pollution and inefficient use.

This report argues that the scarcity of water in the north of China threatens social and economic stability, before then detailing why a holistic approach to resolving the problem is needed. 

The report summarises global implications and opportunities sparked by the water scarcity. China’s success, or lack of it, in dealing with its water crisis has enormous implications not just for itself, but also for the rest of the world. Failure would greatly affect world trade, investment and employment; in the worst case, legal and illegal migration levels could rise. The most obvious effect will, or is already, on sharing “transboundary water”. 

However, in a world of growing conflict of interests, finding common ground such as on a strategic, diplomatic level co-operation over water, pollution, recycling, sharing expertise in river and lake management, environmental governance may help to ease tensions and build trust. These are areas which really matter to China’s future.



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  • China's looming water crisis
  • Publication date 2018
  • Author(s) Parton, Charlie
  • Number of pages 37 p.

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