Water Resource Politics and Policy in China, Scott Moore (July 2012)
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Water Resource Politics and Policy in China, Scott Moore (July 2012)



China’s energy challenges may be vast, but its water resource situation is probably even more critical, due in no small part to the water requirements of energy extraction and the energy ...

China’s energy challenges may be vast, but its water resource situation is probably even more critical, due in no small part to the water requirements of energy extraction and the energy requirements of water transfer. In this talk, gleaned from several years of looking at the problem through the eyes of a political scientist, I’ll summarize China’s water resource challenges, the policies it has put in place to deal with them, and discuss why I think implementing them effectively will require major political reform



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Water Resource Politics and Policy in China, Scott Moore (July 2012) Water Resource Politics and Policy in China, Scott Moore (July 2012) Presentation Transcript

  • Water Resource Politics and Policy in China Scott Moore Doctoral Candidate, University of Oxford Scott.moore@politics.ox.ac.uk
  • China’s Water-Energy NexusEnergy Requirements of Water Water Requirements of Production and Supply Energy Production 6.6 MJ/m3 (Kahrl and  800- 3000 gallons of water Roland-Holst 2008) to extract and process 1 ton of coal [Circle of Pumping requirements for Blue] SNWTP (7.3 trillion  Coal power production gallons/yr for central and uses approximately 4 eastern routes) trillion gallons/per year (China MWR)  Ecological disruption of hydropower
  • Part I: Issues
  • Basic Water Stats (FAO Data)2003-2007 Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Canada ChinaHuman Development Index (HDI) (-) 0.777 0.758 0.902 0.967 0.762Agriculture, value added to GDP (%) 20.28 5.906 2.198 11.13Water resources: total renewable per capita (actual)(m3/inhab/yr) 2529 4018 152.6 88086 2125Dependency ratio (%) 11.71 76.6 96.55 1.792 0.9619Agricultural water withdrawal as % of total water withdrawal (%) 65.76 76.41 44.54 64.61Municipal water withdrawal as % of total withdrawal (%) 29.82 4.267 49.78 12.19Industrial water withdrawal as % of total water withdrawal (%) 4.422 19.33 5.68 23.21Total water withdrawal per capita (m3/inhab/yr) 920.2 1415 470.3 414.6Percentage of total actual renewable freshwater resourceswithdrawn (%) 36.39 35.21 219.8 19.51Percentage of total actual renewable water resourceswithdrawn by agriculture (%) 23.93 26.9 137.2 12.61
  • Irrigation Patterns in China (Thomas 2008)
  • Water Quantity Demography  Per capita water resources 2079 m3/yr (2009), 1890 m3/yr 2030s (FAO) Regional Variation  500 m3/yr in Huai River bain, 25,000 m3/yr in southwest  North China breadbasket: 65% of cultivated land, ~50% wheat production, 45% national GDP, 20% total water resources (FAO) Groundwater Depletion  In Beijing and Shanghai water levels falling by 1m/yr (FAO)  In the Hai River Basin groundwater depletion accounts for 95% of total (FAO) Climate Change  Overall supply of water in China’s major lakes, rivers, and water-bodies has decreased 13% since 2000 (China National Bureau of Statistics/Keith Schneider)
  • Water Quality 70% of major waterways heavily polluted; 40% of river water not fit for “human contact” 436 of 532 rivers polluted, half too polluted to serve as drinking water sources 57% of monitored underground water sources of bad or extremely bad quality in 2010 56% of total wastewater is treated (World Bank)
  • Water Use Efficiency Inefficient Irrigation Water Use  45% of irrigation water actually consumed by crops (FAO) Low water productivity  US$3.6/m3 (high-income average = US$35.8/m3) [FAO]
  • Part II: Policies
  • Policy Framework Legal Reform  2008 Water Pollution Law  Polluter Pays: fines for bosses  2002 Water Law  Safe water, water conservation and protection are priorities  Water resources owned by the State, use is by permit and permission (delegated to MWR)  River basin planning and management Investment and Market Reform  US$45 billion in 11th FYP for water conservation (Freeman 2012)  Full cost recovery (but water prices still very low)  Water rights trading (in infancy) Enforcement and Implementation  MEP Regional Supervision Centers (Quyu ducha zhongxin)  Digital Yellow River (Shuzi Huanghe)
  • Nanshui Beidiao 44.8 billion m3/yr from South to North Three routes  Eastern/Grand Canal: 2013  Central: 2014  Western: 2050 (?) US$62 billion (Circle of Blue) Central Route: Submerge 350 km2, displace ~330,000
  • China No. 1 Policy Document 2010 Water conservancy as a national priority “Mobilize all social forces” including public opinion The “Three Red Lines” (Santiao Hongxian) [Article 19] say that by 2030:  Quantity: Total national water consumption limited to 700 billion m3/yr  Quality: 95% of water quality within established guidelines  Efficiency: water intensity limit of 40m3/10,000RBM, effective irrigation utilization factor of 0.6
  • Part III: Politics
  • Two Stories from the Field
  • Sub-national governance in the People’sRepublic Functional-territorial structure Fiscal-administrative decentralization Hierarchical ranking: provinces have ministerial-rank “One-level down” appointment system Cadre evaluation and rotation system
  • Tiao-Kuai Administrative Relationshipsin the People’s Republic (Liu and Zhang2012)
  • Trans-boundary Issues in the People’sRepublic Article 56 Where a dispute over water arises between different administrative regions, it shall be resolved through consultation. If consultation is unsuccessful, it shall be subject to ruling by the peoples government at the next higher level, which the parties concerned shall strictly abide by. Pending settlement of the dispute, none of the parties may, in the absence of an agreement reached between the parties or approval granted by the same peoples government at the next higher level, build any projects for draining, blocking, taking or intercepting (storing) water or unilaterally alter the existing water regime within a certain area on each side of the common boundary of the administrative regions.  2008 Water Law
  • Concluding Thoughts Better trans-boundary dispute resolution mechanisms Legal and tort reform Network governance