Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

Water scarcity in China is far more serious than realised. This was revealed in a recent study conducted by the Beijing-based Geological Environmental Monitoring Institute (gemi). The study shows that overpumping has largely depleted the country's shallow aquifers, thereby, reducing the amount of water that can be pumped from them. He Qingcheng, head of the gemi groundwater monitoring team, believes that the fast deteriorating water situation should get more official attention. His concerns are mirrored in a new World Bank report that forecasts "catastrophic consequences for future generations of China" unless water use and supply can quickly be brought back into balance.

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