“The country’s traditional approach of building more infrastructure is not enough to fill the widening gap between water supply and demand,” said Qingfeng Zhang, ADB’s Lead Water Resources Specialist and one of the authors of the report. “An integrated water resources management approach is needed to bring balance and prepare safety net supplies for droughts.”
“Between 2001 and 2006, over 400 cities in the PRC suffered perennial water shortages and 11 suffered severe water shortages,” the report authors point out. “The 2011 drought which affected the Yangtze River left 3.5 million people with minimal drinking water. The 2009 drought affected 60 million people and compromised 6.5 million hectares of land. Between 2004 and 2007, droughts cost the PRC an estimated $8 billion of annual direct economic losses.”
- Strengthen its disaster preparedness, including risk monitoring and early warning systems, to reduce response time and costs incurred by losses, damages and rebuilding.
- Manage demand through water savings, building better capture and storage facilities, re-evaluating tariffs, and boosting water efficiencies in agriculture, industry, and cities.
- Take an integrated approach to water management at the municipal level based on water allocation schemes and monitoring that ensure nature, people, and the economy have secure supplies.