Thursday, December 30, 2010

Water projects on top agenda of Beijing in 2011

People’s Daily (China): As extreme weather becomes more frequent in China due to the effects of climate change, the country's weak water projects are facing unexpected challenges, a senior official said. Chen Lei, minister of water resources, told China Daily that the flooding and drought that affected millions of people this year has exposed many problems. He said about 130 million people across the country are living in potential flood zones with an area of nearly 1 million square kilometers.

A catastrophic mudslide, triggered by mountain torrents in Zhouqu county in Gansu province on Aug 8 left 1,472 dead, 294 missing and more than 15,000 homeless, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. More than 66 percent of the country's small- and medium-sized rivers do not meet national flood control standards and more than 32,000 small water reservoirs are flawed, according to the ministry. More than 70 percent of flooding disasters happen in small- and medium-sized rivers, the ministry said.

Besides flood season when water projects are challenged, the lack of anti-drought water projects and the limited capacity of small reservoirs aggravate the drought season that runs from spring to summer every year, Chen said. At the peak of the severe drought in Southwest China early this year, nearly 21 million people from the worst-hit areas such as Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing and Sichuan lacked drinking water, according to statistics from the ministry. "We are facing the fact that large populations and limited water resources are unevenly located," Chen said….

The Taklamakan desert near Yarkand in the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China. Shot by Colegota, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Spain license

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