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Stevie Williams


World Geography Per. 4

What Is Driving China's Water-Scarcity Crisis?

A growing population in China leads to a demand for jobs, which greats a demand for industry,

which can result in pollution. pollution, along with other things, can result in global warming. In

addition to affecting each other, they also contribute to China's water-scarcity crisis.

Pollution and and global warming go hand in hand in affecting the quality and quantity of

China's water. "MSNBC reported in 2006 that, ' glaciers covering China's Quinghai-Tibet plateau

are shrinking 7% due to global warming,'," (Document A). The glaciers melting has been

resulting in flooding, which has lead to severe droughts that have long-term consequences.

This'll make China exponentially lose more and more water. In addition to water loss from this,

their drinking water quality is only getting worse. "only 56% of municipal sewage is treated in

some form... 20 billion m of untreated wastewater is directly discharged into water bodies"

(Document E). Now everyday, more and more water is being polluted making less and less of it


To make the problem even worse, China's population is growing too quick for the water it has.

The amount of consumable water they have may be fine for most developing countries, but since

China has a big population that isn't the case. In comparison to the United States, China's

population is four times the size of ours (Background Essay). "it's not just more and more

people... it is also a rapidly urbanizing and increasing 'affluent' [wealthy] population with rising

incomes embracing a 'lifestyle' that is dramatically increasing the consumption of 'more meat and

alcohol'" (Document B). Meat and alcohol production is very reliant on water, so as the
population is growing and developing, so is the production of things that come with that wealthy

lifestyle (as said in the article).

Industry and the urban population of China has grown tremendously over the last 30/40 years. In

just 50 years, China has doubled its water usage with 450 billion cubic meters of water in 1980

and an estimated almost 900 billion cubic meters in 2030 (Document C). In a graph from

Document C, we see that out of the sectors domestic, industry, and agriculture, the industry

sector has expanded its water usage the most. Factories and industries that are coal-powered use

tons of water every day to run factories, for electricity, to clean and wash coal, etc. In 2030's

Forecasted Demand for Water (Document D), the section labeled power was the largest, being

30%. The document goes on to say that "China has added generating capacity that is equal to the

whole of France's electricity grid," (Document D). China population actually correlates to

industry water use which also correlates to China's water-scarce areas. With densely populated

areas comes the need for jobs. people also cling to areas with job opportunities. This is

encouraging jobs in coal-powered power plants and while it's a high-demand for water, the

burning of fossil fuels in these factories is contributing to global warming, which is melting

glaciers, which is contributing to water-scarcity problems in China. The whole issue is a giant


Although the developing of China is good, they must be more careful with their water usage.

Unfortunately, China's government is even setting the water prices low and insufficient to cover

the full cost of actual water use in China (Document F). China can't do much about the polluted

water, but they can conserve the water they have left. Global warming, pollution, population and

urbanization growth, and China's growing industry have all driven China's water-scarcity crisis.
It's important to realize what the cause of this issue is because China can start trying to solve the

problem by conserving and keeping clean their water.