Environment, Water Resources and Agricultural Policies

Lessons from China and OECD Countries

image of Environment, Water Resources and Agricultural Policies

China's endowment of water resources is extremely low, poorly distributed, and increasingly polluted.  With agriculture being one of the main consumers of water, China's future development depends on initiatives that will raise the efficiency and efficacy of water use.  These workshop proceedings examine the current situation in China, look at what is being done in OECD countries to manage water resources, and suggest policy options for China.



Selected Aspects of Water Management in China

Conditions, Policy Responses and Future Trends

Although China has a large water resource in absolute terms, it’s availability is low on a per capita basis and unevenly distributed both geographically and seasonally. Overall China has about one quarter of the world’s average water per capita, but this falls to one tenth in northern and western areas. In almost all areas of China, water courses, lakes and groundwater are severely polluted due to agricultural pollution, and industrial and household discharges. Severe over utilisation and pollution have resulted in scarcity, inequitable distribution and degradation of aquatic ecosystems that have constrained economic development in addition to posing a major threat to the health and livelihoods of the population. In using 70% of abstracted water and returning less than a third of this water to watercourses, agriculture places by far the greatest stress on water resources.


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