About the Author

Andrea Arzaba
Student / Blogger (Mexico City)

Andrea Arzaba defines herself as a “journalist, peace activist, indigenous cultures lover and an eager world traveller”. Currently, blogger for Global Voices Online and for Adopt A Negotiator Project. Andrea is studying her BA in Communications at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She studied last year at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain.

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Oh China…

Published 03rd February 2011 - 18 comments - 7331 views -

China declared on being in a water emergency state. Eight provinces of the country are suffering a serious drought that has left nearly 4 million people without proper drinking water and is threatening millions of acres of crops.


The dry spell eastern China is threatening water supplies too. It has been called a drought rarely seen in history, as it is the region’s most severe in 60 years. Some of the most affected products have been sugarcane, rice and coffee crops. And people's reaction was calling on government to locate money for relief work.

In Shandong province the situation is the worst. Two million hectares, meaning  56% of its own production, are about to be lost. And in Beijing, it has been more than three months without seeing a single drop of water from rain.


Textile producers are also worried.

Several solutions have been proposed:

Chinese government has considered bringing water from Yellow River by drawing a channel length of 500 kilometers to the north. This would transfer 300 million cubic meters of water. Still, Beijing would need 190 million cubic meters a year to satisfy its inhabitants needs.


Another proposal is what a farming specialist from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences suggested: potato is more drought-resistant than rice and wheat, which suits China better as 60% of the country's arable land is dry.


In your opinion, what would the be your "best" solution? Maybe we should go to the very roots of the problem first ... TH!NK about it!

(Andrea Arzaba, January 2011)




Time Magazine, BBC.co.uk , El Clarín Newspaper, MSNBC and edie.net


Category: Disaster | Tags:


  • Andrea Arzaba on 03rd February 2011:

    Sadly, we do not get a broad coverage on these type of issues in our side of the world. Well, that is a BAD EXCUSE because we do have internet, blogs, citizen media…

    so it is up to us to get informed!

    Y gracias por tus palabras :)

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 03rd February 2011:


    Yes, I’m sure the citizens have so much to tell about the situation if only they could….

  • Maria E.R. Mannucci on 03rd February 2011:

    Great blog Andrea!! This situation it’s terrible. OMG’s, pollution air in incredible percentages, killing whale .... and more..! In relation about the water in Cina, I think the situation is also terrible. The data are alarming. Even in recent years have had many problems with acid rain (many of them for “chemical changes in the atmosphere” produced by themselves). There is a lot of pollution in most rivers and more than 37% of the territory, has an extensive deforestation.

    Finally, I would quote the Deputy Director of SEPA, the National Environmental Protection Agency of China, Wang Jirong, addressed this issue by saying: “Most large rivers and lakes are polluted. The list includes the seven major rivers and 25 of the 27 major lakes”.  :(

  • Gorky Tyagi on 03rd February 2011:

    China is experiencing the aftereffects of poor handling of water resources, as is India, and this water scarcity can be a potent hurdle to the future growth of the two emerging economies.

  • Andrea Arzaba on 03rd February 2011:

    @ Iris: I am sure the stories would be very interesting

    @ Maria: You are right, the pollution you mention is ALARMING!

  • Andrea Arzaba on 04th February 2011:

    @ Gorky: How could you compare India’s problem with China’s one?

    @ Pabitra: By being rational, yes. But cutting rice, would be cutting a cultural heritage, right? (and of course it would be the same with the rivers)

    @Fany: Thank you :)

  • Gorky Tyagi on 04th February 2011:

    Agriculture in India is heavily dependent on monsoons. Modern water storage techniques like rain-water harvesting are non-existent. We have to depend on the annual monsoon to save the agricultural produce. It is the same for China. In 2009, India was hit by severe drought, which was said to be worst in 37 years. And every two-three years, we have a nationwide crisis due to lack of agricultural water. The 2009 droughts had a serious impact on the nation’s agricultural produce. Eventually it soared the inflation rates to all-time high. A situation not very different from China’s.

  • Gorky Tyagi on 04th February 2011:

    Correction: rain water harvesting is not a modern technique, in fact it one of the oldest forms of storing water. But nevertheless, as I said, it is non-existent in most of the developing countries. Instead of concentrating of natural storage systems like ponds, reservoirs and lakes, we are more interested in building dams. And that too by taking loans from the World Bank. That’s a pity.

  • Andrea Arzaba on 05th February 2011:

    @Gorky: It is very interesting how similar both nations can be, especially depending on monsoons. Here in Mexico we also depend on the seasons! And about the dams, that happens here too. You are right. Thank you!

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 05th February 2011:


    Isn’t it interesting why the World Bank always funds the building of dams? Hmmm

  • Andrea Arzaba on 05th February 2011:

    “The World Bank is the greatest single source of funds for large dam construction, having provided more than US$50 billion (1992 dollars) for construction of more than 500 large dams in 92 countries. The World Bank has been “directly or indirectly associated” with around 10% of large dams in developing countries”....


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 06th February 2011:

    So because they don’t want and they don’t have the capacity, the World Bank enters the picture.

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