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.



Water Resources and Agricultural Production in China

The Present Situation

China faces daunting, although not insurmountable, challenges with respect to its water resources. Moreover, its endowment of water resources per capita is low and badly distributed, with the North China Plain having one of the lowest per capita endowments in the world. Current farming practices, if they are to meet the needs of China’s growing population, will also place increasing demand on irrigation capacity. A number of important river basins and watercourses also experience serious problems with pollution. Given these stark realities and emerging trends, current water management approaches are unsustainable. We make several suggestions on how to remedy the situation. Among these, we strongly suggest that correcting incentives and water management practices to raise the efficiency of its use should be a higher priority than reallocating water resources via the South to North water transfer project.


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