Thursday, June 19, 2008

China Running out of Water for Olympics


If you're headed to China this summer, you might want to pack a couple of cases of bottled water.

Wired reports that as Beijing gears up for the Olympic Games and an expected 1.5 million thirsty visitors on top of the 18 million regular residents, the capital is sucking up water resources from around the country.

With Beijing's own groundwater resources largely polluted or disappearing from drought and overuse, the city is using its political clout to keep itself hydrated. In neighbouring Hebei Province, 80 billion gallons of water are being routed to Beijing from already depleted reservoirs. Rivers and canals are being diverted, and villages miles away from the capital are vanishing because their water supplies have been comandeered.

While the end of the Olympics will ease Beijing's thirst somewhat, it's clear that water shortages aren't going to go away, especially in light of the immense amount of the blue stuff required to keep China's factories churning out culottes and LCD screens. And global warming isn't going to help any.

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