Water use remains steady as GDP increases

2024-03-29 10:41:44China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China managed to keep its annual water consumption well within 610 billion cubic meters from 2014 to 2023, despite its GDP almost doubling during that time, said Li Liangsheng, vice-minister of water resources.

That happened thanks to enhanced efficiency of water use in the industrial and agricultural sectors and the utilization of reclaimed water, he told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

During that time, water consumption per 10,000 yuan ($1,380) of GDP dropped by 41.7 percent, he said.

Li highlighted efforts the country has made to beef up water efficiency in the agricultural sector.

China has 70 million hectares of irrigated farmland. Though only covering 55 percent of the country's total, such farmland provided 77 percent of the country's grain and more than 90 percent of commercial crops, he said.

"This irrigated farmland has provided an effective guarantee for continuous increases in the country's grain output for 20 straight years," he said.

"During that time, water used for irrigation has maintained zero growth."

The ministry has promoted water-saving transformations in large and medium-sized irrigated areas and upgraded water diversion facilities, he said.

That helped bring down the average water consumption per hectare of irrigated farmland from 6,030 cubic meters in 2014 to the current 5,460 cubic meters, he added.

To cap agricultural water use, meters connected to the internet have been installed in water intakes of all irrigated areas larger than 3,333 hectares, he said.

Hu Zijian, director of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development's department of urban construction, said China has made progress in utilizing reclaimed water in urban areas, with pilot programs rolled out in 116 cities.

Currently, roughly 18 billion cubic meters of reclaimed water is utilized in the country's urban areas every year, representing 29 percent of the total, he said.


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