China houses 20% of the world's population but only 7% of the world's freshwater sources. Its booming economy and manufacturing of goods has adversely affected their water quality. Factors such as coal burning and large-scale use of pesticides and fertilizers has speedened this process. In addition, rainfall and snowmelt has further contaminated groundwater aquifers (e.g arsenic contamination)
About 1/3 of China's lakes are not considered suitable for drinking water use while 73% of the water sources/lakes feeding into China have medium to high pollution levels. So, are there solutions to this growing water crisis in China and, if so, are they reasonable?
The Nature Conservancy1 performed a study in which 135 surface water sources were monitored and studied. They found, among other things, that less than 6% of China's land mass contains 2/3 of the country's water supply. Because of this, it is crucial for effective remediation strategies to be set-up.
The main proposal was for natural conservation methods through water funds which are "collective impact mechanisms aimed at providing water security to metropolitan areas, by investing in natural infrastructure"2. This includes investing in small and medium-sized catchment systems (less than 100,000 square kms in size). Some examples of natural infrastructure that can play a role alongside these catchments include wetlands, forests, or riparian buffers.
Not only can natural conservation methods improve China's water quality, it also has financial benefits and can increase biodiversity in the surrounding area. Currently, China is also employing real-time monitoring solutions for their water sources as well as to combat air pollution.
Ambience Data believes in helping countries like China in creating and keeping a healthy environment. To see the types of devices and sensors we offer, click here.