Urgency of saving water

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 29, 2010
Adjust font size:

In the past 22 years it has been rare for Beijing to have no precipitation for two months. That this is the case now has added to the already serious water shortage for this city of 20 million people. What is even worse is the overuse of underground water, whose average level will soon drop to 30 meters underground.

Usually the rainfall during the rainy season accounts for one third of the annual total precipitation, but this year it has been just 25 percent, the least in 50 years. The amount of rain has dramatically decreased since 1999. Statistics show that the total amount of precipitation in the past decade has been about 20 billion cubic meters less than the 10 years up to 1999.

Beijing uses 3.79 billion cu m of water a year, the deficit of 1.79 billion cu m will depend on supply from the surrounding provinces, which are themselves plagued by water shortages. Even if the project to divert water from the south to the north starts to supply water in 2014, it will be able to provide only 1 billion cu m a year.

All these figures point to the urgency of saving water in every conceivable way. It is reported that the Beijing government is drafting regulations to ban such water wasting entertainment establishments as bathhouses, ski runs and golf courses.

Yet, just this week a new ski run opened in Huairou district, which not just wastes water by making artificial snow with fresh water but also damages the environment by destroying the bushes and grass within the run. In 2005 it was estimated that the 13 ski runs in operation at that time consumed enough water to meet the needs of more than 40,000 Beijing families.

Beijing also has about 3,000 public bathhouses, which consume about 5 million tons of water a year. The amount of water used to wash cars reached 30 million tons a year when the city had 3.3 million cars in 2008. The amount of water used has soared as the city now has 4.7 million cars and some car washing shops have been caught stealing fresh water for their business.

These figures show that the capital has great water saving potential. The total number of bathhouses, ski runs, car washes and golf courses can be reduced. Residents can be encouraged to clean their cars themselves in a water-saving manner.

Beijing cannot afford to let people use water as they have been doing.

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter