South Asia’s hydrological moment with China

Written by Uttam Kumar Sinha. The countries of South Asia face, with alarming regularity, the twin blights of drought and floods. The management of hydro resources is a critical challenge for South Asia, one that requires a different political outlook and a focus on water. This change of aspect clearly brings into attention the Himalayan and …

The many forms of water security in China

Written by Darrin Magee. By some measures, China is not a water-scarce country. Per capita water resources stood at just over 2,000 cubic meters in 2013 according to the National Bureau of Statistics, with overall water availability at nearly 2.8 trillion cubic meters. Yet these figures tell only part of the story. China’s seemingly sufficient water …

China’s transboundary waters

Written by Patricia Wouters. China shares more than 50 major international watercourses with its (mostly) downstream riparian neighbours — North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan (Kashmir), Afghanistan, India and Vietnam. Less than 1% of Chinese water comes from outside its borders, but it contributes significantly to river basins flowing from …

Running Dry: Water, Agriculture and Climate Change in China

Written by Christine E. Boyle. Conflicting reports on the state of China’s agricultural water use situation range from statements that China’s water shortages threaten the future food security of the nation, to optimistic reports that China’s potential gains for water use efficiency spell out great opportunity for reaching more sustainable water-use rates, and stabilizing grain …

China and the spectre of water wars in Southeast Asia

Written by Pichamon Yeophantong. In late 2013, controversy over China’s dams on the upper stretches of the Mekong River—otherwise known as the Lancang Jiang—flared up once again. Disbelief quickly spread among the communities of the Lower Mekong Basin when an acute peak in water levels during December resulted in massive flooding in parts of northern …

Beyond the Water Transfer: Five Key Challenges

Written by Sam Geall. At the end of this month, the “middle route” of China’s massive South-to-North Water Transfer project will become operational, supplying Yangtze River water from the Dangjiakou Reservoir in central Hubei province to arid Beijing for the first time. Famously proposed by Mao Zedong in 1952 to address chronic water scarcity in …

Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?

Written by Katherine Morton. Water security is one of the most intractable challenges confronting Asia’s future. It is widely recognised that climate change combined with other stress factors relating to population growth, urbanisation, and unsustainable development are leading to negative impacts on the availability and quality of the region’s water resources. Equally worrying are the lack …

China and water security in Asia

In 2011 Anatol Lieven wrote that the ‘greatest source of long-term danger to Pakistan’ was dependence on the river Indus and climate change in general. Lieven was in no doubt that water security was a far greater than that of Islamic extremism. The politics of water, one of the major aspects of water security, are …