Among the questions raised by Beijing's bid for the Winter Olympics was this one. Where are they going to get the snow? In its evaluation of the bid, the Olympic Committee noted minimal snowfall in the area, so the games, they concluded, will rely completely on artificial snow. Jennifer Turner, CEF Director at Wilson Center was interviewed by NPR's Melissa Block on water issues for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Beijing-Zhangjiakou region where the Winter Olympics will be host is located in dry area of China. “North China only gets about 20 percent of all the precipitation in China. The deserts actually come very close to Beijing and it's kind of an interesting juxtaposition thinking of deserts and ski resorts right next to each other,” said Ms. Turner.

When it comes to the question where Beijing can get enough water and snow, Mrs. Turner thinks sounding areas may need to make some sacrifices. “I think that for the surrounding area, they are going to get the water there to make the snow” she said, “and there will definitely be losers. And it could quite very well be local, smaller villages, remaining farming communities.”

However, the Olympics could be used by Chinese government to accelerate investment in renewable energy, moving out dirty factories, according to Mrs. Turner. “The Chinese public saw those blue skies (during Summer Olympics in 2008), and the people in Beijing like those blue skies. And then as we see in air quality get worse, the Chinese public is demanding, we want that back.” Said Ms. Turner. “And maybe all the attention that is going to be put on water issues in north China around the Olympics, it could also have maybe a positive effect of getting a different kind of conversation started about water.”

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