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Why China's economic growth is putting
water supply at risk
The Danjiangko has increased in height by 14m which will double to dam capacity to 29billion cubic
metres of water. As a result 380,000 residents will be displaced.
Factories upstream have been banned to prevent pollution of the reservoir. This has been very
successful and water in the Dankiangko reservoir does not need to be filtered in order for it to be
safe for human consumption.
There is not enough water in the North of China. The South-to-North water transfer project plans to
move water from the southern river (Yangtze River) to the northern river (Yellow River) by building a
number of man-made rivers that will join the Yangtze River and the Yellow River to increase water
flow in the north of China.
Beijing has the most polluted water supply in China as it is heavily industrialised so there is a high level
There is a lot of water in the Himalayas due to relief rainfall so the water is transported to Beijing
where there is a shortage. Water has to be tunnelled through earthquake-prone mountains (western
routes). The building of these tunnels could cause an earthquake, potentially damaging human
Resistance from the people living along the Yangtze, who worries that, the transfer of water out of
the Yangtze will result in water shortages for them.
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They use less than 8% of this water, most of it flows out of the river and into the sea"-Chief
Engineer of the Water Transfer Project
Dr Wang Weilou, Environmental Expert- "the root cause of water shortages is that Beijing has
damaged its supply. So its transfer of water will not completely solve the problem"
Flooding could cause the rivers to become a floodplain.
45billion cubic metres of water are transferred per year.…read more
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Impacts of Economic Growth
Many rivers have also become polluted. Major pollution incidents occur every day and in some cases,
rivers are so polluted that they are `no longer fit for human contact'. Contamination of groundwater
is also common.…read more