04.16.2014 二〇一四年 四月 十六号

 

Northern China’s Water Storage;

 The South to North Water Transfer Project;

Research Findings

Within my interviews I have found that there is a drastic change in consciousness associated with daily water consumption in both a school setting compared to that of a home setting. Within a school setting participants mentioned that they use methods of curtailment, specifically when they turn off the water while brushing their teeth and taking shorter showers. The individuals even mentioned other methods that could possibly save water that both their home and campus could implement. An example of the efficiency actions one could take that they mentioned was replacing toilets, sinks, and old running equipment (pipes,etc). Looking at two interviews I took in particular, I have remarked on body movements, tone of voice, and any other major points in their answer I felt necessary to include.

 

Interview 1

ü  When you think of water, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

-        Confusion, distraught mannerisms

ü  On a daily basis, how often do you use Beijing water?

-Confident about how much water he uses. Strong, concise tone.

ü  Is your water usage different when you are a student?

-        Also confident

ü  How often do you use a location’s water supply when you are not on campus? What locations?

-Also confident

ü  If you were to estimate how much water you use a day, how much would it be?

-        Ten cups a day…very unsure about this answer.

ü  Tell me about your water usage when you go home to visit family or friends.

-Home I use more water because, he can take more showers. One time a day back at home. (Mentioned in the above paragraph)

ü  What if Beijing charged more for their water?

-If this true, I must be use less water. It is not okay. (This will be important to note in my research.)

ü  Do you know where Beijing’s water comes from?

ü  Nding River (Sp?). That is where water comes from here? That is what he thinks. He thinks Beijing’s water is going away to another city or province.

**When I received this answer I took it upon myself to look up where the majority of groundwater the interviewee was potentially speaking of. Here is the route I found in my research that provides approximately 2.0 billion cubic meters of water;

(I will put this point directly into my research, mostly because I have not spoken about groundwater supply in Beijing. This will be important to tie my argument together. )

 

  • Do you have any additional comments?

There were none.

  • How did this interview make you feel?

I just received an uncomfortable glare.

Interview 2

  • When you think of water, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

There is a light in her eye that shows confidence but at the same time she is serious about water scarcity.

  • On a daily basis, how often do you use Beijing water?

Awareness of industry is important to note that she had.

  •  Is your water usage different when you are a student?

Very confident about answer. I got the exact answer of, “College students have a high awareness of protecting water.” I wanted a further answer, so I asked “why?”

The answer was plain and simple, “Because we are educated”.

  • How often do you use a location’s water supply when you are not on campus? What locations?

This is in the audio. There is nothing I found significant about this answer.

  • If you were to estimate how much water you use a day, how much would it be?

Hard to describe, she drinks about two bottle a day. 2 liters. I put an asterisk on this answer.

  • Tell me about your water usage when you go home to visit family or friends

It was described as being the same. However, that is currently an outlier answer. I mostly have received responses that look at more of a consciousness within a school setting. However, there are numerous confounding variables that can alter this answer (province, etc).

  • What if Beijing charged more for water?

There was a strong ageing of this. The exact words were “It prohibits the use of too much water. It will create more awareness.”

  • Do you know where Beijing’s water comes from?

They did not know. However, they knew it was from some province in the South of China.

  • Do you have any additional comments?

N/A

  • How did this interview make you feel?

She felt relaxed, because we know each other well.

 

Within these two interviews that I chose, I found a theme of unawareness to where Beijing’s water supply is derived from. I will look into this in more interviews and perhaps push the question a bit more to obtain a more detailed response to this lack of information. Another theme that was a bit difficult to explain in this interview was the mannerisms the interviewees made throughout the interview. When answering difficult questions, such as how much water they use a day their hands got irritable. As for their eyes, they widened slightly. I want to point this slight nervous and off guard body responses in my paper. Other themes include those that I have mentioned above.

 

Detailed Outline of Paper to Date

Introduction:

  1. Brief introduction on water scarcity in China. Here is an example excerpt I would include;

 As of 2013, Beijing has an annual water consumption rate of 3.6 billion cubic meters, far more than the 2.1 billion cubic meters that is locally available. Such a rate of consumption is far from a new issue for the capital of Beijing, and collectively the Northern Region of China. In fact, the per capital annual water rate is around 120 cubic meters, a level well below the United Nations water scarcity threshold.

  1. Introduction of the social implications and the economic pillar that is associated with water scarcity.  Here is an example excerpt I would include;

Water scarcity is one of this capital’s and northern China’s greatest challenges, and without a solution this issue, disaster is inevitable. Research on Beijing’s water crisis, and its social prospective is crucial to commencing the wheel of solution that this region is in dire need of.  Especially, if we are looking at city who has a projected water capacity of 12 million people, and is currently supporting almost 20 million.  There is no other option besides change. To fully understand how to fix this issue sustainable development should be one of its major goals. If the government and its people were to take into consideration the potential, rights, and responsibility of its population, human dignity could be achieved. The construction of this human dignity can be separated into three major sectors of the economic, social, and environmental characteristics. With these characteristics, human dignity, and with time equity towards its population’s water usage, Northern China would hold the key to opening the door of sustainable development; in this case, it’s water supply. I hope to alter this as the paper progresses and put in the findings of my interviews.

1st Main Body Paragraph

  1. This paragraph will be reserved for in-depth information on the South- North Transfer Project (南水北调工程). An example of what this paragraph will include will be;

Northern China is currently trying to compensate for this lack of water through a project known as the South- North Transfer Project (南水北调工程). This is a multi- decade project anticipated to reroute 44.8 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Yangtze River to the Yellow River and Hai River. Its central route, which is the focus of this paper, is from the upper reaches of the Han River to Beijing and Tianjin. The intentions of this project are simple, to provide an improvement of water resources in Northern China. However, it’s environmental and social costs are far more complex. With the construction of this diversion project, industrialization zones have been built along its path.

  1. I also hope to further my objective perspective on this project in this paragraph. The excerpt above is merely a sample of the data that I have collected.

2nd Main Body Paragraph

  1. I will use this paragraph to talk about the negative implications with project will cause, and to be fair to both sides, it’s positive aspects. An example of what the paragraph will look like includes;

 

This poses a serious source of water contamination that is being diverted to the north, causing individuals to decrease their water consumption to eliminate the risk of personal contamination. Contamination on this level has occurred through chemical drainage of factories built along this diversion project. With such industrial effluent, there are numerous factors that lead to negative effects on human health. These components include petrochemicals and chlorinated solvents. (Positive implications will also be included)

  1. Within these negativities I will also mention its social consequences. An example will look like this;

This poses a serious source of water contamination that is being diverted to the north, causing individuals to decrease their water consumption to eliminate the risk of personal contamination. Contamination on this level has occurred through chemical drainage of factories built along this diversion project. With such industrial effluent, there are numerous factors that lead to negative effects on human health. These components include petrochemicals and chlorinated solvents.

3rd Main Body Paragraph

  1. I will use this paragraph to talk about China’s demand for the need to manipulate the environment for its own benefit, especially after the Cultural Revolution. Having this environmental scope will be crucial to standing up the environmental pillar the is needed in terms of achieving sustainability. An example of this is below;

To understand the need for this project, one must look at it in a perspective of more than just providing water to a growing population. Instead, a historical perspective is crucial to understanding China’s demand for the need to manipulate the environment for its own benefit. This aspiration began in the eighteen and nineteenth after the traditional empire. During this period, a long-term trend of exploitation of the environment began, specifically due to the spike in population and need for development. Development of this nature brought on this was when cultivation of maize, sweet potatoes and other cash crops that began to overtake China’s landmasses, causing most of the country to take initiative in clearing our landmasses for agriculture. In their perspective, growth was key to their success as a nation.

4th Main Body Paragraph

  1. This paragraph will be mainly about the information I have gathered in my interview. More of a detailed analysis on this will be in my final paper.

Conclusion

  1. I know for a fact that my conclusion will be the most difficult part of my paper. It will most likely end up being one or two main body paragraphs. However, these are a few concepts I would like to include, and perhaps expand on? What do you think?
  2. An example of what I would want to begin with; For our survival as a human race we use water for our benefit and energy. Water in a global sense is giving us a service. In fact, the biosphere not only provides us with water, but it also cleans our water. However, this service occurs at a much slower rate than we are consuming and contaminating. This is where the theory of sustainable development comes into play. The three spheres of this theory, economic, social, and environment pillars are need to sustain our environment. Humans must not forget the limit of the world we live in, and thus water should be cherished not exploited.
  3. However, there is something missing my paper. I can’t quite find a way to make it complete. I’ll have to plan this a bit further.

03.26.2014 二零一四年。三月。二十六号

Annotated Bibliography

The South to North Water Transfer Project

What is the price of water?

Bakker, Karen. Privatizing Water; Governance Failure and the World’s Urban Water Crisis. United States of America: Cornell University Press, 2010. 81-84. Print.

There has been an ongoing debate on the use of privatized water. But before I go into this in my essay I wish to express what the use of privatized water entails. The privatization of water is the procedure of a private company taking water supplies and becoming responsible for its owning and maintaining of treatment plants. The participation of these private business is controversial in numerous countries. I hope to explore this debate and use Bakker’s novels as an outlet to my understanding.

A large sense of fierce controversy surrounds the topic of privatized water, one that is both modern and historical. A few of these arguments lie around the idea that this profit- driven management of water will not improve water supply access for individuals, and explores the unethical idea of using water to make profit. After all, water is perceived to be a human right, and the use of money and private companies to supply a resource that is essential for life, ecological health, and human dignity is being controlled by a certain group of individuals has the potential to seem far from ethical. However, in contrast to this debate, proponents of this service argue that through the use of water is a part of “revolutionary change”. Commercializing water is argued to be a way of encouraging the conservation of scarce water resources with the use of higher prices projected onto the consumer. Such high prices are meant to discourage wasteful use. Many do not agree with this tactic.

I have also chosen this novel in my paper in order to bring up the question, “What can the past privatizing of water teach us in the present?”.  There is a prominent historical experience with water privatization in North American and European Cities In fact, a revitalization of private sector involvement related to water supply in the 19th century illustrated a trend of private companies supplying water to cities such as Boston, New York, London, Paris, and Seville to wealthier neighborhoods as a first priority. An example of this disadvantages that can come from this form of prioritizing is simple, a loss of equity. In fact, in the 1840s in England, only ten percent of its population had a piped water supply. The companies that supplied this water were unregulated monopolies that charged high prices and even underprovided water to maintain profit. To also maintain this profit these privatized companies did not push themselves to build sewage systems. This lead to a lack of sanitation, which in result lead to public health issues. I hope to use this historical evidence in my paper to illustrate the price of water’s effect on public health.

Barlow, Maude. Clarke, Tony. “Who Owns Water?.” The Nation.  (2002):  1-7. Web. 2 Sept. 2002

This article struck a chord with me because it comes from the educated opinion of two activists, Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. They focus their paper on the movement of fresh water in regards to these points that I chose to focus on; The Case Against Privatization, and A New Water Ethic.

In their opinion, with the existence of privatization of water there is no hope. However, when there is a will there is a way to save the worlds water, but as a planet we chose not to follow these guidelines in the midst of our own greed. The solution to saving the world’s water is fundamental, the reclamation of despoiled water systems, drip irrigation, over flood irrigation, infrastructure repairs, water conservation, radical changes in production methods, and watershed management. Those are only a few of the changes that could be taken for those who control this sacred amenity. Control, being the key point in this article, is said to need to come from a common property rather than outsourcing it to the elite who have the potential to determine the world’s water future in their own interests. These two authors argue that the Privatization of water means that it is controlled on the principles of scarcity and profit maximization and less focus is put on long- term sustainability.

Essentially, the key point of this article is one that I want to bring into my paper as a radical idea, decommodification of water. If one were to declare water as a public trust and the governments near such resources were to protect its well-being, would the negative effects or rather the price of water be eradicated? I hope to come up with an educated guess within my paper.

Berkoff, Jeremy. “China: The South–North Water Transfer Project— is it justified?.” (2003): n.

page. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

This article is being used is an economic perspective. Economically, the Northern China’s prosperity has suffered due to this project to the depletion of living standards of those who live near the project. Without access to clean water in the regions that this water transfer project is upheld, economic activities have been put on hold. Water is one factor that determines the pattern of regional and agricultural development, and when it is depleted economic activity in a region is tarnished. With economic transformation, sources of income in a rural community are lessened significantly. This ultimately brings about the question; what is an individual and more importantly a population in this are to do in this situation? The answer is migration. This issue will be further analyzed in my paper and combined with information collected from interviews.

Buckley, Chris. “A Quiet Start to South- North Water Transfer Project .” New York Times. N.p., 11 Dec 2013. Web. 25 Mar 2014. I chose this article purely to get a perspective of the New York

Times on this project. There is a specific part of the article where they perceive this project as being negative in several aspects. These cons include the cost overruns, feuds among officials over who pays for and who gets water, and the harsh contention of resettling more than 300,000 people. I will use these negative scope to contrast it with a potential positive scope I will experience through interviews.

WWF. (2001). The Proposed South North Water Transfer Scheme in China; Need, Justification

and Cost. Draft Report. World Wildlife Fund, Beijing

I used this article to get less of an ethical perspective in my paper, but rather a historical prospect of why this project was implemented in the first place. To first understand this prospect, we must look at Chairman Mao’s past desire for China to be economically powerful. We can take the idea of transferring water from the Yangtze River to northern china as being a way to expand this country’s development. In China’s context, privatized water is seen as a way to increase agriculture, and with an increase in agriculture China’s population gains the potential to increase. Through these 50 years that is the trend China has been seen. I wish to talk about this trend and the desire of development Mao wanted during his time of power.

Freeman, Carla. “Quenching the Dragon’s Thirst: The South-North Water Transfer Project—Old Plumbing for New China?.” Wilson Center. N.p.. Web. 18 Mar 2014

This article looks at the geographical perspective of China’s water supply. As of 2014, it is unevenly distributed and northern China’s water availability per person is only a fraction of that in the humid, and moist southern region. Because China’s population is reaching over 1.3 billion individuals, individuals that are concentrated in the Huai-Hai river basins of north China have been causing China’s low per capita water availability. This low water availability, in combination with Climate Change is creating a need for privatized water. I want to take this article and understand the need that has created this want for privatized water. I want to understand the actions behind this unquenchable thirst and ambitiously answer the question, what is the price of water?

Gleick, Peter. “Water in Crisis: Paths to Sustainable Water Use.” Ecological Society of

America. (1998):  571-579. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

In regards to water use, the definition of sustainability is one that is not clearly defined. In this disparity lies several questions; how are all these values which sometimes conflict, to be prioritized? What is to be sustained? How long? What are the benefits? What are the beneficiaries? These questions need to be asked before one understands the ecological and economic roles what plays in our society.

Once these questions are answered, case by case of course, is when the understanding of what contributes to the unsustainable use of water can be understood. Unsustainability in it’s most simple sense has the potential to develop in two ways; through the modifications in the stocks and flows of water that change its availability in space or time, as well as the alterations in the demand for the benefits provided by a resources through the changing standards of living, technology, and population levels. In order to gain control and establish sustainability in the water realm, numerous principles are necessary to consider. These principles will provide a substantial base to my question; what is the price of water? The criterions Gleick discusses are as follow;

  •        Criteria 1. Basic human water requirements.—The first criterion listed above sets as a primary goal the provision of a basic amount of water for meeting the essential needs of humans.
  •        Criteria 2. Basic environmental water requirements- The second of the criterion listed above requires a minimum amount of water be guaranteed to meet the essential needs of natural ecosystems.
  •        Criteria 3. Water quality standards- Different uses require water of differing qualities. As a result, water quality standards for different purposes must be developed and water quality must be monitored and maintained to meet these standards.
  •        Criteria 4. Renewability of water resources- Freshwater resources typically are considered renewable: they can be used in a manner that does not affect the long- term availability of the same source.
  •        Criteria 5.Data collection availability- If water planning and management are to be democratic and effective, data on all aspects of the water cycle be collected and made available in an unrestricted manner.
  •        Criteria 6 and 7. Institutions, management, and conflict resolution- Criteria for sustainability are not only about measuring appropriate biological or physical indicators. They must also provide guidance for the institutions that are to resolve conflicts over water and deal with unavoidable uncertainties and risks in decision making. (Gleick 571-579)

These criterions are Gleick’s framework for prioritizing water in a sustainable manner, specifically through it’s use and management. He stands by these principles and states that as long as the basic needs of an individual are met, then all remaining water use is justitfied. However, the line between justified and abuse is thin.

He, Chansheng, Xiaoying He, and Li Fu. “China’s South-to-North Water Transfer Project: Is it Needed?.”Geography Compass. (2010): n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

In regards to the development of large water works, there has been a high demand in China. This demand is inevitable, however, the authors tackle this unavoidability through educated criticism. They argue that South to North transfer project is a partial solution to the chronic water shortages in both the Yellow River basin and the North China Plain. There needs to be an improved implementation and enforcement of demand management programs nationwide to improve water conservation. As for a policy perspective, there needs to be a change in the enforcement of environmental regulations and the ‘polluters- pay’ principle

Another topic of interest I strive to incorporate to my paper includes the other side of the transfer project, its benefits. Once this project is completed 45 million m^3 of water will be delivered to both the North China Plain and the Northwest China. This will alleviate the water shortages in 16 cities are currently undergoing water shortages, including Tianjin and Beijing.

From an economic stand point, this transfer project, when fully completed, has the potential to economically raise the generated gross domestic product to over $75 billion by 2020. In succession, the economic development of 12 provinces will also occur. In a literal sense, this is the economic price of water.

MacCuish, Derek. “Water, Land, and Labour: The Impacts of Forced Privatization in Vulnerable Communities. “Social Justice Committee. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

There is much to be said about the social justice issues of water privatization in regards to this transfer project, and in response use it as a way to pinpoint the faults of privatization socially. Taking into consideration of the estimated 300,000 individuals, mostly residents of Hubei, that have migrated during its construction is a prime example of the neglect of locals when countries develop into pools of private ownership.

An example of the corruption of the social pillar can be seen in Africa, where over history privatized water has had the general results of high water tariffs, little to no benefit to the investment of public services, and slow development of new networks to provide safe water to those outside the old system. These issues are parallel to that of the South to North Water transfer project, and provide a negative connotation to its seemingly innocent ambition.

This article struck my attention specifically due to its ability to change my scope and look at what the middle man is feeling when he is building water pipelines through land that was once another individual’s. What does that man feel? Does he know the social impacts he is causing to his own race? Does he know the price of water?

Matthews, Nathanial. “China’s water crisis needs better farming, not the South-North Water

Transfer.”Chinadialogue. N.p., 06 Jan 2003. Web. 3 Mar 2014.

Within this article, I found objective facts about the South to North Water Transfer project. The project has a cost of $62 billion US dollars. As for the total about of water that is being diverted, that is 44.8 billion cubic meters. Other information I used from this project is the 330,000 people that are being relocate to due to the expansion of the Danjiagkou reservoir.

I also took into consideration the environmental disadvantages that this project upholds, I chose to focus on the droughts that the relocation of water causes. This is can be seen in the Dan river, located near the Danjiangjour River, where it’s population experience a reservoir so low that they do not have sufficient water for drinking and even providing water for their crops. While I see this as an objective view of the unethical circumstances this project hascaused, I hope to keep an open mind in the interview process. This is crucial to understanding the perception of the cost of water in China, and more specifically Beijing.

Nan ,Xu, and Zhang Chun. “Water-transfer projects “essential”, says Chinese scientist.” Chinadialogue. N.p., 28 Aug 2012. Web. 19 Mar 2014.

Within this article I found that embedded in the transferring of water, there is purpose but also a less chaotic way to approach its construction. Xia Jun, the president of the International Water Resources Association and head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Water Resources Centre, spoke of this methodology in World Water Week in Stockholm in 2012. I chose to focus on three questions that were asked in the interview that I expect to broaden my papers dimensions on the question, what is the price of water? One of the interview questions that Jun responded to was, “Is it correct to say that China has plenty of water, but it’s unevenly distributed?” He reacted by saying that first of all, China does not have plenty of water. In fact, because of the monsoon zone China has in the south, more precipitation and essentially the county’s water supply is in this region. This does not mean that China has a large water supply, it just specifically has water in the wrong regions. The next question that was asked at this event was, “We’ve seen a lot of public debate over water transfer projects. What role and impacts do regional water transfers have? How should we evaluate all the projects getting under way? I found it interesting that Jun avoided much of this question, but his answer got me thinking of how we approach the relocation of water resources. He started by saying that moving water to make this resource more evenly spread out is crucial, but still should be done with caution. I saw this reaction to be an important point in my paper, especially considering the heavily weighted purpose of also focusing on the ecological balance of nature when we chose to alter the ecology of the environment in this way.  The last question in this interview was, “Are there examples China could learn from? Jun used the example of Singapore’s falling per- capita urban water usage, and its simultaneous GDP increase. Singapore has broken this pattern or rather traditional theory of water usage. I wish to speak about Singapore’s water consumption in my paper.

 

 

 

 

03.17.2014 二零一四年。三月。十七号

Methodological Approach to Northern China’s Water Storage;

 The South to North Water Transfer Project

When looking upon the issue of water shortages and its social implications it is crucial to approach it in a manner that deals with the causes, instead of just questioning it’s ethics. Water is a sacred amenity for human survival, and in order to understand the issue behind its scarcity all of its realms need to be analyzed through qualitative methodological research. Qualitatively, I will be perusing face to face discussions with human subjects.

When interviewing subjects, I will construct them around the question of, what is the attitude towards The South to North Water Transfer Project? This question will allow me to understand ultimately the attitude of water in Beijing, and how much of a priority is its conservation. In order to achieve the most optimum results, I will be using various types of questions that will be separated into two categories, central and sub-questions.

The first type of question that I will use in my interview will be factual. I hope to find a simple, straight forward answer that either demonstrates a true fact or awareness. The answers to these following questions are typically right or wrong.

ü  Where does the water you use come from?

ü  What does Beijing do to make up for water scarcity?

ü  What year was The South to North Water Transfer Project implemented?

  • If you are familiar with the project, what areas of China do they cross?

ü  Are you familiar with the concept of privatized water?

ü  Are you familiar with the ideology of neoliberalism?

The next type of questions I will use in my questionnaire are divergent. They have no single answer, but will allow the subject to analytically look at their daily lives. My goal is to make these questions as open- ended as possible to be able to record the reasoning behind the subject’s actions.

ü  Reflecting over Beijing’s large population, do you think it is justified for individual’s to not take into account their water consumption?

  • If so, do you believe the people of Beijing are aware of their water usage?
  • If not, why do you think it is not justified?

ü  What is you experience with the South to North Water transfer project of China?

  • If you have heard of it, what is your opinion on its implementation?

ü  If one were to tell you that this project creates a large number of migrant people and pollution upon their region’s water supply, how would it make you feel?

ü  Do you perceive water as a human right?

ü  There are many reasons why water is privatized. There are debates that that privatization is a fundamental way to regulate this resource, as well as provide economic growth. Do you agree?

  • If so, what is your reasoning?
  • If not, what do you not agree with?

ü  How did this interview make you feel?

As for the individual’s I’ll be interviewing they will be citizens of Beijing. Crossing borders is a difficult obstacle when one is an outsider. There is a level of understanding of Chinese culture that needs to be established before creating a bridge of understanding between both cultures. I will be creating this bridge through learning the language and reading books on the subject. A book I have chosen to read through is “Privatizing Water; Governance Failure and the World’s Urban Water Crisis” by Karen Bakker.

In Bakker’s book I have collected information less specifically on China’s situation, but rather the debate of privatizing water as a whole. Throughout countries such as Canada, Ecuador, Tanzania, and many other countries in the world, there have been protests against water privatization. What are these protests about? Well, there is a concern to this privatization that is most evident from what I have read, equity in terms of fairness of pricing. The individuals who are protesting this issue feel as if the government should be paying for this exchange of a human necessity. As for the protests, these countries have experienced a hold up of private sector contacts. However, not all protests are as high- reactive as protestors may wish.

In terms of China’s perspective on water privatization or more importantly the South to North Water transfer project, there is little nothing in the media. I hope to learn more about their perspective through my interviews with Beijing citizens. As for the United States scope on this issue, I decided to do a little research of my own. The United States, or rather some of its citizens believe that privatization of water does not create any form of cost savings. There is this idea that privatization saves costs merely because it pressures providers to be more efficient. Another issue that is evident in the States is the argument of privatization in the U.S. being an issue in terms of security reasons. There is the idea that if the government does not publicly own this enterprise of water distribution, there will be an increased chance of water contamination. An argument I did not find through research is the problematic environmental costs of such privatization.

Taking into consideration these two main arguments the United States is known for, I hope to find out more arguments the government or even the arguments of those not in political power stand for. There are numerous perspectives I could find through the interview process. Whichever perspective I do receive, I hope to maintain a level of respect and understanding between myself and the interviewee.

02.23.2014 二零一四年。二月。二十八号

Northern China’s Water Storage and its Unethical Solution; the South to North Water Transfer Project

As of 2013, Beijing has an annual water consumption rate of 3.6 billion cubic meters, far more than the 2.1 billion cubic meters that is locally available. Such a rate of consumption is far from a new issue for the capital of Beijing, and collectively the Northern Region of China. In fact, the per capital annual water rate is around 120 cubic meters, a level well below the United Nations water scarcity threshold. This is not to be taken likely by any means, especially taking into consideration the region’s dry climate. These statistics put China’s capital and northern region in a position of having a more severe water scarcity than some countries in the Middle East. To put this issue into a more alarming perspective, a direct quote taken by the United Nations International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005- 20015 stated,

Hydrologists typically assess scarcity by looking at the population-water equation. An area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1,000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic meters “absolute scarcity”. (UN 2014)

Water scarcity is one of this capital’s and northern China’s greatest challenges, and without a solution this issue, disaster is inevitable.

Research on Beijing’s water crisis, and its social prospective is crucial to commencing the wheel of solution that this region is in dire need of.  Especially, if we are looking at city who has a projected water capacity of 12 million people, and is currently supporting almost 20 million.  There is no other option besides change. To fully understand how to fix this issue sustainable development should be one of its major goals. If the government and its people were to take into consideration the potential, rights, and responsibility of its population, human dignity could be achieved. The construction of this human dignity can be separated into three major sectors of the economic, social, and environmental characteristics. With these characteristics, human dignity, and with time equity towards its population’s water usage, Northern China would hold the key to opening the door of sustainable development; in this case, it’s water supply.

Northern China is currently trying to compensate for this lack of water through a project known as the South- North Transfer Project (南水北调工程). This is a multi- decade project anticipated to reroute 44.8 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Yangtze River to the Yellow River and Hai River. Its central route, which is the focus of this paper, is from the upper reaches of the Han River to Beijing and Tianjin. The intentions of this project are simple, to provide an improvement of water resources in Northern China. However, it’s environmental and social costs are far more complex. With the construction of this diversion project, industrialization zones have been built along its path. This poses a serious source of water contamination that is being diverted to the north, causing individuals to decrease their water consumption to eliminate the risk of personal contamination. Contamination on this level has occurred through chemical drainage of factories built along this diversion project. With such industrial effluent, there are numerous factors that lead to negative effects on human health. These components include petrochemicals and chlorinated solvents. Petrochemicals occur through underground petroleum storage, while chlorinated solvents generally are derived from metal production, electronic, and aircraft manufacturing. Contamination also occurs in indirect level as well. Since agriculture accounts for 68% of China’s water that is taken from ground water sources such as lakes or rivers, any contamination of this resource would cause a lower yield in both agriculture and the livestock raised by farmers. Having these lower yields, as seen today across areas of Northern China near this project, economic prosperity has suffered. Their living standards have depleted. Without access to clean water, economic activities have been put on hold cause those who inhabit these provinces to live in constant poverty.

Through an environmental scope of a solution to such an issue is sustainable development, The individual’s responsible for the planning and implementation of this project should be held responsible for having the least amount of negative impact on the natural environment. As for a social perspective, we are looking at a respect for each individual and family that deserves an equal chance for clean water. Clean water is a basic necessity for sustainable development, and more simply a better way of life. As for the other negatives associated with this project, has to do with its implications. Since the start of this project, hundreds of thousands of people has had to resettle to make room for its construction. This can be seen in the Hubei and Henan provinces, where almost 350,000 people were resettled to areas nearby the Danjiangkou Reservoir. As stated by the Worldwide Wildlife Fund,

Though supported by both Chinese analysts and the World Bank, the project is nevertheless very costly; it involves the resettlement of up to 300,000 people; deprives the Han sub-basin of water supplies; and has complex environmental implications. Some dissident voices have thus come out against the project, concluding that management and efficiency improvements alonewould be adequate (WWF, 2001)

 

 

These individuals have faced a dilemma that has caused a copious amount of individuals to suffer a loss of their livelihoods. Not only did the individuals of the Hubei and Henan provinces lose their property, they lost their identity.

To understand the need for this project, one must look at it in a perspective of more than just providing water to a growing population. Instead, a historical perspective is crucial to understanding China’s demand for the need to manipulate the environment for its own benefit. This aspiration began in the eighteen and nineteenth after the traditional empire. During this period, a long-term trend of exploitation of the environment began, specifically due to the spike in population and need for development. Development of this nature brought on this was when cultivation of maize, sweet potatoes and other cash crops that began to overtake China’s landmasses, causing most of the country to take initiative in clearing our landmasses for agriculture. In their perspective, growth was key to their success as a nation. However, what caused the most damage to its environment was the irrigation systems that began to be implemented, especially in the dry climate of the North. To this day, we continue this trend of hydraulic systems to a climate that is not meant to support large masses of agriculture. Through an economic perspective there is no economic viable solution to improving this situation without degrading the natural ecology of China, or in this case Northern China. And to add to this point, we must not forget that other most important factor that controls the environment, the social structure of power during the development of progress. This can be related to the South to North Water Transfer project, where three factors should have been considered before its implementation to create a scenery of sustainable development that is constructed from economic, social, and environment implications.

Within these three pillars behind sustainable development is the moral of respect for the ecology of this China’s Northern region. For our survival as a human race we use water for our benefit and energy. Water in a global sense is giving us a service. In fact, the biosphere not only provides us with water, but it also cleans our water. However, this service occurs at a much slower rate than we are consuming and contaminating. This is where the theory of sustainable development comes into play. The three spheres of this theory, economic, social, and environment pillars are need to sustain our environment. Humans must not forget the limit of the world we live in, and thus water should be cherished not exploited.

Sources:

Berkoff, Jeremy. “China: The South–North Water Transfer Project— is it justified?.” (2003): n.page. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.       

Matthews, Nathanial. “China’s water crisis needs better farming, not the South-North Water Transfer.”Chinadialogue. N.p., 06 Jan 2003. Web. 3 Mar 2014.

WWF. (2001). The Proposed South North Water Transfer Scheme in China; Need, Justification and Cost. Draft Report. World Wildlife Fund, Beijing

02.23.2014 二零一四年。二月。二十三号

Agriculture and Religion in Contemporary China

When one walks around the streets of Beijing it is inevitable to witness the abundance of food sold in shops and street markets. The comprehension of this great quantity of food struck me when I began to settle in to the Beijinger lifestyle. But more importantly, what also crossed my mind was how this supply is constantly met.

China as a whole is in an optimum agricultural location due to its location between the latitudes of 18N degrees and 50 N degrees. This puts this country into a region of temperate and subtropical land, optimum conditions for an abundance of numerous crops. Geographically, the entire country also has access to approximately 18,000 km of coastline, as well as northern and western regions that are enclosed by expansive mountain systems, deserts, basins, and high plateaus. All of these geographic landmarks create its own set of unique agricultural conditions. One specific example can be seen in the Sichuan province.

Known for its fertile Sichuan Basin in the east, this province is a major supplier of grains, rice, sweet potatoes, as well as numerous other cash crops. What makes this basin so optimum for agriculture is its two distinct geographic features, its water system and it’s abundance of mountains and plateaus. This province is fortunate to have the Yangtze River go directly across its basin, creating a large cease pool of water collection that has other small, interconnected rivers that pour into it.

Beyond the objective fact that China and the Sichuan Province are agriculturally optimal, how far can such prosperity last with such a growing population? To answer this question, I chose to look at it in a perspective not commonly followed by an Environmental Scientist.

There are many methods to understanding why humans consume beyond their sustainability, and I think an essential account that needs to be taken into consideration is the connection between religion and the environment. Today’s environmental issues are regarded as a cultural, religious, and ethical issue, primarily due to the way people live effects their use of the environment. Let’s take a look at Christianity. Inherited from Judiasm, Christianity looks at God and his creation of light, darkness, plants, animals, and the most heavily weighed creation of “heavenly” bodies. Since man named all his animals, he is in power. This creates a set of ethics that weighs upon the idea that man is not simply part of nature, but that he is made in God’s image to control it.

Taking into consideration this perspective engrained in the minds of those who follow Christianity, it is not surprising that we feel the ability to consume and exploit our environment in any way we wish. Is it time to re-evaluate our stance of religion and create a new stance of equality within ourselves and the ecosystem we are undeniably interconnected with? I think so.

02.17.2014 二零一四年。二月。十七号

This past Friday I experienced the cultural tradition of setting off fireworks during the 15th of the first month of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lantern Festival. These fireworks are gunpowder rolled up in red paper and are typically hung down in a series of hundreds at a time. Such fireworks are known for their ability to scare away evil spirits, therefore, the more fireworks the luckier the year. However, with such a cultural tradition comes consequences not typically acknowledged by the public. With layers of smog blanketing Beijing’s atmosphere these usually harmless pyrotechnics fuel the levels of sulfur dioxide, as well as other toxins creating a higher concentration of tiny particles. I got to experience this first hand throughout the day, and the levels of PM 2.5 in the air were incredibly noticeable as the day progressed. The worst wave of smog came past 6pm, creating a PM 2.5 level in the upper 450’s!

Taking into consideration these detrimental effects on air quality during such an integral part of the Chinese New Year, where is the line between humans and nature drawn? We wish to obtain a sustainable way of life, but refuse to lessen our increase of globalization or in this case tradition.

What I came to realize quickly is that to answer a question of this magnitude a cultural perspective needs to be uncovered. This will be difficult during my 4 month stay, but with time in my courses I hope to establish a bridge between myself and those across Beijing.

~Update~

These are the courses I’ll be taking for this semester:

Environmental Conditions and Public Perception in Contemporary China

Religion and Ecology of China

Sustainability in Context

再见!

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02.02.2014- 二零一四年。二月。 二号。

Countdown: 5 days

Here is a video introducing my blog, as well as the specific use for my page during my semester abroad. I hope to use this page to recording the environmental issues of China for further research in my field. Feel free to contact me at any point in my trip.

Skype:monica_alves_

monica.alves@simmons.edu

You can leave me a voice mail on my Skype if I’m offline, and as for my email I’m sure I’ll be on that frequently.

See you all soon! 很快再见! And before I forget, Happy belated New Year!