Friday, March 12, 2004

Dry Beijing to shun water-intensive industry

Sticking with the China theme--the Chinese government is taking steps to deal with another environmental problem--the shortage of water.

Beijing authorities have announced that they will block new water guzzling industries and reward those that use water saving technologies. The government has developed a list of 93 kinds of water-saving and water-recycling products, and will set up a special fund to subsidize enterprises engaged in water-saving toilets, sewage treatment, and other water-saving technology.

Beijing has recorded surprisingly large declines in its water tables and aquifers in recent years. The Chinese government is in the early stages of a project that is meant to move huge amounts of water from China's south to irrigate parched areas of the densely populated north.

However, China is not alone in facing a growing shortage of fresh water. Whole villages in Iran have been evacuated due to exhausted aquifers, while some of the largest cities in the Middle East face the same problem in coming decades.

Water is yet another measure of the carrying capacity for humans, and the red flags are already flying.


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