Jason Sylvester's Blog

Hong Kong
Jason’s love and respect for the Earth’s water resources began as a child while enjoying Canada’s pristine lakes, and his love of watersports led to him becoming a passionate marine environmentalist. Jason became a certified PADI scuba instructor in 2004 and joined the Sustainable Development committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong to help find solutions to the environmental degradation common in local waters, such as marine debris, shark-finning and unsustainable fishing practices. Jason loves to travel to regional diving spots and will blog about his dive trips to eco-friendly resorts and locations, in addition to covering the issues surrounding the declining quality of the marine environment.

China's Water Crisis

Thirsty coal-fired power plants
August 15, 2012

This weeks blog will highlight the issue of water scarcity in China, particularly the dwindling supply caused by rampant industrialization.
 
To start, I would like to share some excerpts from an article by Stephen Chen in the South China Morning Post on August 15, 2012:
 
"Nearly 10 billion cubic metres of water - a quarter of the water that can be allocated for use from the Yellow River in a normal year - will be consumed by 16 new coal-fired power plants on the mainland by 2015, exacerbating water shortages in the arid northwest, a Greenpeace report said yesterday.
 
The Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources, commissioned by Greenpeace, calculated this was the least possible amount of water likely to be used by the power plants due to be built under China's 12th five-year plan. . . .
 
. . . As a result, the report says, northwestern regions such as Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Ningxia, where 11 of the power plants will be located, will experience severe water supply challenges in the next three years. . . .
 
. . . The researchers said that desperate farmers and thirsty urban residents would increase the risk of social upheaval in unstable border areas. In Inner Mongolia, the demand for water by coal mines, power plants and chemical factories during the five-year plan is projected to more than double by 2015.
 
The autonomous region has already seen protests and riots by Mongolian herdsmen whose pastures vanished after mines and factories sucked rivers and lakes dry.
 
Pollution is also forecast to rise, adding to the shortage of usable water, the report says. With most coal mines in remote areas, where environmental checks are lax, they will dump waste water containing harmful chemicals into rivers or lakes."
 
This issue was also mentioned in a June article, 'Hooked on the black stuff: can China kick its coal addiction?' by Fergus O'Rorke at CleanBiz Asia, when he included the following: "Peter Evans, General Electric’s director of global strategy and planning, said at seminar in Tokyo that plans in both countries' to build more coal-fired power plants to meet electricity needs aren’t feasible because of a lack of water needed to cool the plants."
 
For businesses seeking to invest in China, China Water Risk is an invaluable source of information on water-stressed regions of the mainland that can help your company make strategic choices for locating new plants.
 
And just out, this report on the same issue from China Water Risk and HSBC.
 
"Well, it doesn't matter where your home is, because we all live on an island we can't leave. So, please, use only what you need, because supplies truly are limited." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXg5HsWChv8

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