China could save 100 billion cubic meters of water for irrigation purpose from now to 2020 if its plan on popularizing scientific irrigation methods is successfully carried out, said a renowned researcher on Sunday.
Water used for agricultural purposes accounts for 66 percent of China's total annual water consumption, which stands at 560 billion cubic meters, compared with 92 percent in the 1950s, said Shan Lun, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
"In another 15 years, it is feasible that 100 cubic meters of water could be saved per year if advanced irrigation technologies are applied," he said in a keynote speech delivered at the annual conference of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology on Sunday.
According to him, China sustains an annual shortfall of 40 billion cubic meters in water supply, of which 30 billion cubic meters is needed by the agriculture sector.
The expert pointed out that China's northwest regions consume 90 percent of the water used in the agricultural sector, which however means a considerable room for water saving technologies.
In addition to developing farm produce especially seasoned to grow in dry land, Shan Lun suggested comprehensive water saving technologies be applied in the irrigation and water diversion systems in the regions.
At present, only 40 percent of the country's 50 million hectares of arable farmland can be ensured of sufficient water supply.
(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2005)