Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chinese water issues bring tears to the eyes.

Globally, we face any number of issues that could cause the wheels to fall of the axles of our economy.  You have your global climate change, peak oil issues, nuclear proliferation, pandemic flu concerns, and you have….water.
Given that we have made an absolute hash out of preserving our Southwestern aquifers, and the Colorado River does not even reach the ocean anymore, we here in the United States of America are not in a strong position to go finger pointing on water issues.
But there are times that it seems like it would be nice if you had someone who would just take charge and ram decisions through – stop all the bickering……………….
or maybe not.
Edward Wong, New York Times, 2 June 2011 via the Herald-Tribune
North China is dying.
A chronic drought is ravaging farmland. The Gobi Desert is inching south. The Yellow River, the so-called birthplace of Chinese civilization, is so polluted it can no longer supply drinking water. The rapid growth of megacities — 22 million people in Beijing and 12 million in Tianjin alone — has drained underground aquifers that took millenniums to fill.
Not atypically, the Chinese government has a grand and expensive solution: Divert at least six trillion gallons of water each year hundreds of miles from the other great Chinese river, the Yangtze, to slake the thirst of the north China plain and its 440 million people.
The engineering feat, called the South-North Water Diversion Project, is China’s most ambitious attempt to subjugate nature. It would be like channeling water from the Mississippi River to meet the drinking needs of Boston, New York and Washington. Its $62 billion price tag is twice that of the Three Gorges Dam, which is the world’s largest hydroelectric project. And not unlike that project, which Chinese officials last month admitted had “urgent problems,” the water diversion scheme is increasingly mired in concerns about its cost, its environmental impact and the sacrifices poor people in the provinces are told to make for those in richer cities.
This project has not one, but three channels from the distant Yangtze to bring water north.   They are moving 350,000 people out of the way to make room, and the area they are taking the water from has been suffering it own drought.


Anonymous said...

This story tied in with Charles Hugh Smith's post today at his blog "Of Two Minds". With China and the US running full steam towards the edge of the cliff the next decade should hold some big surprises. Thanks Dennis

russell1200 said...

I am sorry you are still having a hard time posting. I am still using the Name/URL combo at some sites (no cat picture).

Thank you for the heads up. I was trying to look at Charles' website earlier today, but its margins are set too wide to read easily on a blackberry. I went back and looked again. Charles and I haunt some of the same websites: I doubt our economic take on the issues is all that different.

Michael Pettis is very good on China. He is also able to explain currency issues: which is unusual.

Anonymous said...

The link was dead. When I googled it I got more info than I will ever need for "viagra for women". Aw the joy's of the 21 century. Thanks Dennis

russell1200 said...

I just tried the Herald Tribune link and the Michael Pettis link (cut and paste really) and they both worked. Be careful that you don't have a Trojan (hijacks and misdirects searches, and our links). They can be a pain to get rid of. Russell