China’s Problems Impeding Rapid Growth–Part 2: The Lack of Clean Water

December 13, 2014 Updated: June 24, 2015

Many people maintain that China will continue growing at the incredible rate that it has been for the last twenty years. Since the early 1990’s China’s GDP growth has averaged 8.9% per year. This has led many people to believe China can continue this great growth ad infinitum. It does have a huge, relatively cheap labor force to draw from. Practical people realize that such growth can’t continue forever. I am attempting to write a series of articles that will cover some of the problems China is encountering (or is sure to encounter) in its attempt to continue this rapid growth.

Read the first part: China’s Problems Impeding Rapid Growth – Part 1: The Cost of Smog

One of China’s bigger problems is its lack of water in general and its lack of clean water in particular. China has a population of about 1.367B people. The world has a population of about 7.125B people. In other words China’s population amounts to about 19.2% of the world’s total population. Yet it has only about 7% of the world’s fresh water supply. OUCH!

By comparison the US has a population of 319 million. Canada has a population of 35.5 million. Together these two countries have a population of about 355 million. This is about less than 5% of the world’s total population. Yet together they control all of the fresh water in the Great Lakes. This alone amounts to about 21% of the world’s supply of fresh water (by volume). Canada alone with all of its arctic area (fresh water in ice) controls about 20%of the world’s fresh water supplies. It has only about 0.5% of the world’s total population. Canada is orders of magnitude richer in fresh water per capita than China. Even the US is not in Canada’s league; and it has tremendous fresh water resources. It is easy to see why Canadian and US citizens think they can waste clean water. Yet 780 million people in developing countries have no access to clean water at all. This is true of about 300 million people in China (the entire population of the US). …

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