China’s Coal Industry Is Sapping Its Water Supply

first_imgChina’s Coal Industry Is Sapping Its Water Supply FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Edward Wong for the New York Times:China’s consumption of coal, a major contributor to climate change and the country’s horrific air pollution, is worsening a severe water shortage in the northern part of the country, Greenpeace said in a report released Tuesday.China’s coal-fired power plants consume more water where water is scarce than plants in any other country, according to the report, which assessed global water depletion from coal use.A decades-long drought in northern China — home to the bulk of the country’s coal production and consumption — is worsening, and the central and local governments are grappling with massive desertification. Officials have relocated millions of people. Beijing, the capital, where more than 20 million people live, has extremely low water levels.The problem is so severe in the north that China has built an enormous series of canals, the South-North Water Diversion Project, to transport water hundreds of miles from the Yangtze River.Greenpeace said the continuing burning of coal for power plants and factories in northern China, along with the growth of the coal-to-chemicals industry, is exacerbating the water crisis. In much of northern China, people are using water faster than it can be regenerated, Greenpeace said, “posing a serious threat to local ecology.”At the end of 2013, China had 45 percent of the world’s coal-fired power plants, with a total installed capacity of 358 gigawatts, according to a summary of findings in the 60-page report, “The Great Water Grab.” Nearly half of the plants were in water-scarce areas, and those had a total annual water consumption of 3.4 billion cubic meters, enough to meet the basic needs of about 186 million people, the researchers found.Across all of China, coal-fired power plants consume 7.4 billion cubic meters of water each year, enough to meet the needs of 406 million people, or about 30 percent of the nation’s population, according to the report.Plants proposed for construction would worsen the problem, the report found. Half of those plants, which would have a total installed capacity of 237 gigawatts, would be built in water-scarce areas. They would consume 1.8 billion cubic meters of water, equal to the annual needs of 100 million people, the report said. Report Ties Coal Plants to Water Shortage in Northern Chinalast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *