In China’s northern region, which is home to 40% of the nation’s population, farmers in Chifeng city were recently forced to postpone crop harvests after 10-meter deep cracks began to appear in fields, creating risks for injury. The city’s hydrological bureau also reported that 62% of 51 area reservoirs have run dry, leaving over 250,000 people short of drinking water.
In southwestern Guizhou province, more than 600,000 people also faced water scarcity as drought conditions there have similarly left rice fields covered with cracks, while hundreds of thousands of livestock compete for dwindling water supplies. The government has been building dams to help provide adequate resources for growing populations and industry.
However, these efforts have diminished supplies reaching down-river countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, India, Thailand and Âu Lạc (Vietnam), with adverse effects to farmers there.
Meanwhile, the Chinese capital Beijing struggles to cope with increasing shortages as it hastens to complete a diversion project to deliver sufficient water to hundreds of millions of people.
According to experts at the World Bank, without drastic changes in water use, there could be tens of millions of environmental refugees appearing within the next ten years.
We are deeply concerned for the people of China and all those living downstream in the face of these growing water shortages. May we all adopt the best means of conserving this precious resource and reversing climate change to ensure the survival of all beings.
In a 2008 videoconference with our Association members in New Zealand, Supreme Master Ching Hai pointed out the significant role of livestock raising in water scarcity and urged for action to preserve both water supplies and the planet as a whole.