As China continues its rapid economic expansion, the country faces an increasing shortage of water that threatens its economic growth, reports Leslie Hook at the Financial Times. China’s per capita water resources are, on average, about 25 percent of the worldwide average. Roughly a quarter of China’s provinces are as dry as the middle East countries of Jordan or Syria, according to the Hong Kong based consultancy China Water Risk. Chinese officials admit that water scarcity is one of the nation’s most urgent problems, one that is due in part to human driven climate change, and expanding urbanization. As it is, Beijing has for the first time in modern Chinese history set water quotas for each province, to be met by 2015. The effects are social, political and economic. As the problem worsens, social discontent is rising, threatening political stability. Shortages constrain the development of energy sources requiring huge amounts of water, such as nuclear plants. A 2007 World Bank Report estimates that water shortages cost China more than two percent of its gross domestic product, a substantial economic hit. As climate change continues, expect even worse.
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China: Water shortages put a brake on economic growth. In the face of China’s rapid economic expansion and growing presence on the global stage, it is often forgotten that the country is running out of water. Chinese officials identify water scarcity as one of the nation’s most pressing difficulties. The problems are social, political and economic. Financial Times http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/7d6f69ea-bc73-11e2-b344-00144feab7de.html#axzz2TNqI0NoR