California is not the only major power with a water problem. In 2001, the Chinese ministry of water resources acknowledged that:

China will experience a serious water crisis in 30 years . . . China’s per capita water resources quota will be only 1,700 cubic meters, a generally acknowledged danger limit, by 2030, when its population reaches 1.6 billion.

China possesses two of the world’s longest rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow River with water reserves totaling 2.81 trillion cubic meters, the fifth richest in the world after Brazil, Russia, Canada and the United States. Calculations made based on population and acreage of arable land in 1997 show the country’s per capita water resources quota is only 2,200 cubic meters, 25 percent of the world’s average.

By 2030, water resources quota for per mu (15 mu equal to one hectare) of arable land will be 1,900 cubic meters, 80 percent of the world’s average.

More recently, it hasn’t been the risk of “no water” that has concerned the Chinese; rather, it is the notion that pollution could severely reduce the usable supply of water that has the Chinese worried:

Most of China’s chemical plants pose a “grave environmental risk” because they are located too close to cities and rivers, a top regulator said Tuesday. The State Environmental Protection Administration warned of an increase in toxic accidents unless safety was tightened at facilities, the official Xinhua News Agency said . . .

“Unless effective risk prevention measures were taken, it would be impossible to check the trend of surging environmental incidents,” SEPA deputy director Pan Yue was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Environmental protection, long ignored in China’s breakneck economic growth, has taken on unprecedented official urgency following toxic river spills that forced several cities to cut off running water to millions of people.

Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior officials have warned that China faces a critical water shortage due to chronic pollution and chemical accidents. The government says some 340 million people already lack access to water deemed clean enough to drink.

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