According to statistics released by the Beijing Water Authority, China’s capital consumes 3.6 billion cubic metres of water per year, 170 percent more than is available locally.
China Dialog reports:
The per capita annual water availability is now around 120 cubic metres, well below the United Nations absolute water scarcity threshold and puts China’s capital city in a position of more severe water scarcity than some countries in the arid Middle-East.
Statistics from Beijing Water Resources Bulletin shows that the decrease in the capital’s water supplies results mainly from the rapid decline in surface and underground water resources. In recent years, water supplies from these two sources have decreased by 38%.
“We projected that Beijing’s water capacity could support 12 million people, but Beijing’s population has now reached 20 million people,” Xu Xinyi, director of Beijing Normal University’s College of Water Sciences, said in an interview.
While the planned multibillion ‘South to North’ water diversion project will bring an extra one billion cubic metres of water to Beijing upon completion in 2014, this will still leave the capital some 500 million cubic metres short. In the past decade, Beijing has seen a population growth of over 44 percent, with no signs of slowing.
Water prices in Shanghai increased in August due to new conservation methods, with households facing on average a 23.2 percent higher bill than previously.
Over 320 million people in China are without access to clean drinking water.
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