Examining -- and watching -- China’s water strategy

Examining -- and watching -- China’s water strategy

March 22, 2013

Water -- especially the lack of it -- is emerging as the next global imperative, and China is center on the world’s stage of devising plans and policies to provide enough water to survive and thrive.

A global team of scientists, including CSIS director Jianguo “Jack” Liu, have conducted a comprehensive review of the path of China's water conservancy development and examine those projects’ achievements, problems and challenges. Bottom line: water conservancy’s future is filled with opportunity, but the way strategies have been executed needs to be changed.

“Water Conservancy projects in China: Achievements, Challenges and Way Forward,” is published in the March 13 online edition of Global Environmental Change.

China’s strategic water resources management plan was set by the central government in its Document No. 1 of 2011 and is focused on the three stringent controlling measures concerning national water use, water use efficiency and water pollution.

The group emphasizes that the plan’s goals require paradigm shifts: maximizing economic and natural capital, prioritizing investment to preserve intact ecosystems and restore degraded ecosystems, adapting to climate change, balancing construction of new water projects and rejuvenation of existing projects, and managing both surface/groundwater and soil water.

The authors are Junguo Liu; Chuanfu Zang; Shiying Tian; Liu; Hong Yang; Shaofeng Jia; Liangzhi You; Bo Liu and Miao Zhang.