Inefficient water use is significantly worsening China's water shortage, an environment advisory body has warned.
Experts from the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development said much water was wasted in agricultural irrigation and the daily use by urban residents.
The water use rate of flood irrigation, the main irrigation method of Chinese farmers, was only 45 percent while such rates in developed countries were above 80 percent.
About 25 percent of water pipes and facilities in urban areas leaked resulting in a loss of 400 million cubic meters every year, according to the Ministry of Construction.
Experts also attributed pollution and ecosystem degeneration caused by human use of natural resources to the growing shortage.
China is suffering chronic water shortages with per capita resources of about 2,200 cubic meters. This is a quarter of the international average and ranks China at 110th among 149 countries.
The safety of water supplies for 320 million rural people couldn’t be guaranteed and more than 400 cities suffered from inadequate supplies.
A severe drought in July and August left at least 18 million people short of drinking water in 15 provinces, municipalities and regions, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
The government should raise public awareness of water conservation, adopt new irrigation methods and increase the use of water-efficient facilities, experts say.
(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2006)