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Imperative to better conserve water

China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-29 07:18


Aerial photo taken on Oct 14, 2019 shows a shoal of the Ganjiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, in Nanchang, capital of East China's Jiangxi province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor's note: Since late July, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River have been hit by drought due to lingering high temperatures and little rain, with some parts of Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces suffering moderate to severe drought, which has seriously affected agricultural production. 21st Century Business Herald comments:


In recent years, global warming has caused increasingly frequent extreme weather events, and the level of climate risk has been on the rise. As China is one of the regions sensitive to global climate change, its surface temperature has risen by 0.24 degrees Celsius on average every 10 years, higher than the global average over the same period. In the context of climate change, weather and climate disasters in China continue to expand in scope, with frequency and severity, directly affecting its agricultural production and posing a long-term challenge to China's food security strategy.

For the long-term development of agricultural security and to adjust the seriously imbalanced distribution of water resources among regions, China should build new water conservancy facilities given that some old facilities planned and built before the launch of reform and opening-up are worn-out or of low standard, making them unable to raise agricultural productivity and resist extreme weather. China's inadequate water conservancy facilities and the lack of enough funds input have also led to inefficient water use in agriculture, with 47 percent of irrigation water wasted.

The increasing depletion of water resources in the north and the long-term threat of climate change to agricultural production highlight the need for China to make systematic arrangements for constructing water conservancy facilities. At a recent irrigation work meeting, Premier Li Keqiang stressed that China makes up for its weakness in water conservancy, by not only expanding the scale of water conservancy facilities but also constructing precisely-arranged and targeted facilities to improve the efficiency of agricultural production.

China's urbanization and industrialization have advanced by leaps and bounds, but its agriculture is still far from modernized. For the sake of long-term development, it is time for China to act to construct and upgrade its irrigation facilities to deal with challenges posed by climate challenge.

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