China faces water deficit

08:44, April 27, 2010      

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China will face a water supply deficit of up to 201 billion cubic meters in the next two decades if the country does not adopt proper water-saving technologies and practices, a report by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has found.

Given the drastic growth in industrial and municipal water use, China's total water demand could reach 818 billion cu m by 2030, but the supply would stay at only 619 billion cu m, the report estimates.

But the country has enough solutions to close the gap, and most of them are affordable and profitable, said Martin Joerss, a partner at McKinsey & Company who led the study.

The report identifies 55 solutions to boost water supply and conserve consumption in agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors.

"China has a 'double opportunity' for both the government and private sectors," said Joerss, adding that investing in water-saving technologies and operations can not only help solve the water crisis, but also bring good economic returns.

"Some of the solutions need significant investment, but most of the solutions we examined represent attractive investment opportunities for the private sector," Joerss said.

Investing in 47 solutions, such as building more sophisticated irrigation systems, reusing industrial water and patching up leaky municipal water pipes, could generate an annual profit of 131 billion yuan, the report finds.

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