I live in an area of plentiful water, at least for the time being. There’s a spring source twenty minutes from my house by foot – I walk through two forest parks to reach the remains of an 18th century watermill, now a tumbledown ruin. Evian, of the bottled water fame, is a 45-minute drive; the famed Evian water is free to anyone who shows up at one of the local fountains with empty water bottles. It’s hard to imagine the Lake Geneva region, with its many rivers and groundwater sources, ever running dry.
China, on the other hand, is considered a country with water problems on a variety of levels. From toxic waste to damming to population growth, over-exploitation of groundwater, desertification and poor management, China’s freshwater supply has been under duress for some time.
Just how much duress was brought to light with a recent report that thousands of China’s rivers have simply disappeared. Over the course of three years, a large team of surveyors counted 22,909 rivers in China, covering a total area of 100 sq km (38 sq. miles). Just twenty years ago, a 1990 survey counted 50,000 rivers, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and the National Bureau of Statistics. The official cause has been blamed on climate change.
China will be faced with damage control, but can help us all in one respect: Even if water seems abundant right now, it’s no reason to waste it.
The Australian article