Comprendre les enjeux de l'agriculture

China’s water needs are on a national scale, and to sustain its growth, it must secure its water supply, sometimes at the expense of neighboring countries. Large-scale water infrastructure projects support industries, agriculture, and the 1.4 billion inhabitants, who, on average, have 300 cubic meters per year. This average hides a significant territorial disparity: a Tibetan has an annual supply of 186,000 cubic meters, while agricultural populations in Tianjin, Shanghai, or Beijing face water shortages.

The lack of a resource management policy is partially responsible for this situation, despite the fact that China’s major rivers have a higher flow than those traversing Europe. The country is also a major emitter of greenhouse gases and experiences an increase in climate events induced by global warming, such as droughts and floods.

Most projects aim to redirect rivers northward through gigantic canals. Ultimately, 45 billion cubic meters of water will be transported to the north. China also plans to exploit Tibetan resources for hydroelectric production and irrigation. The construction project of a large hydroelectric dam on the Tibetan Brahmaputra River worries India. This river feeds many Hindus, and its regulation by China would give the country “hydraulic” power over India.

China has recently allocated $162 billion for various investments in favor of preserving its water resources. While the country still considers its resources in the service of growth, it is contemplating a more sustainable approach with the creation of “sponge” zones capable of mitigating floods or the use of wastewater for irrigation.


Source: Reporterre