Sunday, October 01, 2006


Yaser Anwar

I'd also like to bring to readers attention China's similar problems.

With 1.3 billion people, China makes up 20% of the world's population but unfortunately the country has only 7% of the world's fresh water. Scarcity's only the beginning of China's water problem. The little water they have is hardly ever clean enough for any sort of human consumption.

Only half of China's large cities have even simple wastewater treatment
facilities. In approximately 16-17K smaller towns, sewage simply flows into the water supply.

China knows it can't continue this way. In addition to needing a healthy workforce, China's hosting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing - that's why it's taking some serious steps to modernize its water systems. There's a massive race to nearly double the amount of wastewater treatment infrastructure in the city.

A while back there was a great article in FT about India's water problems. The FT said this about the southern city of Chennai: "Anyone who stands at the edge of Marina Beach and watches the stinking, black and lifeless water of the Cooum River befoul the blue-green sea at the river mouth can hardly fail to notice that Chennai has a problem with its water."

Unlike other commodities, the
demand for water is unwavering and certain. What's more, there is no such
thing as a "water alternative." It's clean, fresh water - or nothing.

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