January 10th, 2018
Water scarcity in Northern China – Conclusion
The rapid growth in the Chinese economy in the recent past has been subject to widespread international criticism. Part of the criticism has been in the ability of the country to sustain the economic growth with the various challenges that it faces. With the economic reforms that the country instituted, its share of the world markets has been growing gradually. One of the products that have however characterized the growth of Chinese global trade has been its agricultural exports. Recently however the water scarcity crisis in the northern parts has lead to concerns as to whether the future of the country as a major agricultural exporter can be assured. This paper thus sought to evaluate the water scarcity challenges in North china, the causative factors and its impacts on the food security of the region and Chinese global trade.
The water crisis in the north of China as been identified to result from both natural and human influenced factors. In respect to the natural factors the geographical location of the region and droughts that have plagued it have been noted to have been important factors leading to the current water shortages. Geographical location has for instance resulted into the northern part controlling far less water resources than the southern part despite the former’s population being higher. Further droughts that have plagued the region as exemplified by one that occurred in 1972 have resulted in the declining levels of the water table in the region.
Human influenced factors however have had a far greater impact to the regions water resources. The increasing population density and high number of industries that have been established in the region have for example provided massive competition to for the limited water resources that were traditionally used for agricultural activities. The competition between alternative sources has lead to increased scarcity in the region to very low levels based on per capita measurements. What however has compounded the problem has been the reluctance by the government to institute policies that would better the resource management process. Such reluctance has for instance lead to the increased drawing of underground water leading to over exploitation. Secondly the government has not developed strong institutional and legislative framework that would motivate users of the water resources towards efficient use. The control of water issues by two distinct entities is for instance noted to hamper effective implementation of conservation services.
With such reluctance in implementing conservation policies the region faces various challenges in future. First of these relates to food security due to inadequate water supply to the grain fields as a result of competing “high-value” uses. The other effects of such scarcity have been noted in respect to the environment degradation. With increasing pollution of rivers by industries leading to use of polluted water in farms; agricultural exports from China have for instance faced global challenges on their safety ratings. Such would impact negatively on the country’s foreign exchange but the diversification of the country’s exports has provided a temporary solution. China’s economic future would thus be influenced by how well the country is able to manage its traditional strongholds with an increasing trend towards industrialization.
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