China suffers from a shortfall of nearly 40 billion cubic meters
of water a year, largely because of global climate change, Minister
of Water Resources Chen Lei said.
"The changes have led to a combination of both frequent drought
and flooding," Chen told a high-level roundtable conference on
China's water resources and water environment protection on
Chen said the figure was calculated on the country's average
annual water needs in recent years.
The country's water demands are shaped by a number of factors
including its massive population, a relatively small number of
water resources, and disparities between relatively water rich and
water poor regions.
Latest data from the ministry suggested that rainfall in
northern China had decreased in recent years.
Water resources particularly in areas surrounding the Yellow
River, Huaihe River, Haihe River and Liaohe River, had dropped by
"Seasonal water shortages in some of those areas are getting
worse, seriously restricting sustainable social and economic
development," the official said.
China is attempting to balance protecting its water resources
and the environment with its impressive economic growth and rate of
President Hu Jintao in his report to the opening of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of
China (CPC) last month, urged for a more efficient approach to
development, growth and consumption that was more environmentally
Under Hu's push for more "scientific development" the ministry
will focus on major water issues including securing more clean
drinking water, improving water conservation, water pollution
prevention, restricting excessive water resources exploitation and
cutting water waste.
(China Daily November 5, 2007)