September 16, 2019
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 In GLIMUN2019: Water Access

Environmental

Access To Water 

People’s Republic of China

Leah Palladino

Forest Hills Eastern

 

Access to water remains a vital topic in the world, whether it be water scarcity or water cleanliness. Enacted by the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals are quintessential improvements that need to be achieved and implemented to sustain the population and environment. Water access is vital to China’s success. The most populous country in the world, China needs to be able to supply its citizens with clean, fresh drinking water. Because of the continued population growth and drastic droughts that limit freshwater, China needs a plan to ensure access to safe water for its citizens. 

 

The southern region of China receives and contains nearly 80% of national precipitation, leaving the northern region worse-off in water availability. The northern area has also been experiencing a drought, traumatic to both crop yields and the drying up of rivers and reservoirs. The lack of fresh, drinking water in China most directly stems from climate change which causes global average temperatures to warm, precipitation patterns to shift, and desertification to augment. Water pollution also is limiting water access to the citizens of China, for rivers and lakes are polluted with runoff, sewage, and industrial outflow, and groundwater is tainted with saltwater intrusion and earthy materials. Freshwater reserves are declining yearly and pollution is increasing in surface and groundwater. Currently, 83% of Chinese citizens have access to safe water, while 48 million lack sufficient drinking water. To meet the energy and water demands of being the most populated country in the world and an active agricultural and industrial economy, China is working on a new project. China is building the South-to-North Water Diversion Project which is projected to cost $62 billion and be completed in 2050. It is the largest project to be attempted and aims to redirect 44.8 billion cubic meters of water yearly from rivers in the south to the dry, desperate north. However, this project is a short-term solution with many criticisms. The treatment plants that southern water will travel could be polluted, and the southern area does not have deep freshwater reserves to permit this diversion for too many years into the future. This is merely a short-term solution to a problem that is being taken on a global scale. Local citizens are also taking action, such as farmers who emplace plastic sheeting around crops to collect rainwater and limit water waste. 

 

To the international community, China, in accordance with statements made by the World Bank report, stresses that there needs to be law enforcement to streamline and coordinate water management institutions. Also, suggestions have been made regarding increasing the information made aware to the public to increase public involvement. It is important that the Environmental Programme address water shortages and redirect stress to the unfortunate lack of safe water in many areas of the world. As a country fully aware of the importance of access to water, China would like to see a resolution to maintain and strengthen water access across the globe. China hopes for a fruitful committee experience and looks forward to working with many countries.

  • Leah Palladino

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