10 Things You May Not Know About China and Water

I knew something was really happening in China when cement and steel prices escalated here a few years ago because China was seemingly sucking the world’s raw resources. China is switching economic planes in mid-air from an agricultural based economy to manufacturing economy. Unprecedented growth has brought enormous challenges in water resources.

I thought this morning I would try to collect some of these China water facts that are splattered in miscellaneous reports into one blog post.

  1. 400 out of 600 cities in China are facing water shortages to varying degrees, including 30 out of the 32 largest cities.
  2. The combined health and non-health cost of outdoor air and water pollution on China’s economy comes to around $100 billion a year(or about 5.8 percent of China’s GDP).
  3. Overall cost of water scarcity was estimated to be about one percent of their GDP.
  4. 40 percent of China’s rivers are grade V (not suitable for drinking, industry, or agriculture) or worse
  5. Lack of municipal wastewater treatment is a big driver of water pollution throughout China with nationwide rates of treatment only average around 30 percent.
  6. 6 of China’s 27 largest cities meet their own drinking water standards.
  7. Only 17% of rural households had access to tap water.
  8. The per capita water volume in China is one fourth of the world average.
  9. 90% of cities’ groundwater and 75% of rivers and lakes are polluted.
  10. Chinese water prices do not reflect scarcity: they are 70- 80% below prices in countries with adequate water per capita

Addressing China ’s Growing Water Shortages and Associated Social and Environmental Consequences
China Cost of Pollution
China’s Water Crisis
Beneath Booming Cities, China’s Future Is Drying Up


  1. I lived in Beijing for a year back in the early 1990s. Even then, the pollution was astronomical. These figures are dismaying, but they do not surprise me.I forsee that public unrest over these issues may eventually destabilize this otherwise resilient regime.EricWater Words That Workhttp://waterwordsthatwork.com

Comments are closed.