The Yangtze River Water Resources Committee on Wednesday released a communiqué on the status of the water resources of the Yangtze, China's longest river.
The Yangtze River valley covers an area of 1.8 million sq. km spanning 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, including Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Gansu, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Henan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Fujian.
According to the communiqué, the regions along the Yangtze's drainage area enjoy much more abundant water resources than the arid northern provinces.
Although the Yangtze's drainage area suffered a severe drought in 2001, the river's water volume still remains at 889.2 billion cubic meters, nearly equal to that of previous years.
Owing to social and economic development as well as population increases, however, the per-capita water volume of the Yangtze River drainage area has been on decline. In 2001, this figure dropped to about 2,100 cubic meters, merely one quarter of the world average.
Moreover, due to the uneven distribution and severe pollution, some areas within the Yangtze's drainage area have suffered water shortages which have severely affected the local social and economic sustainable development.
According to the latest statistics released by the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, to date, a total of 59 cities along the Yangtze have water shortage problems. Twenty-six of them are suffering severe water shortages.
The water pollution situation of the Yangtze has improved, the communiqué noted, but the problem has yet to be completely resolved.
In 2001 alone, more than 2.2 billion tons of industrial pollutant water and urban waste water were dumped into the Yangtze River, four times as two decades ago.
(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2002)