The burgeoning confrontation between energy and water creates a choke point that poses fundamental global challenges. Underlying China’s advance to international economic prominence, like a tectonic fault line, lies an increasingly fierce competition for water. According to Chinese authorities and government reports, China’s massive economic growth is outpacing its freshwater supply. Water scarcity limits energy development, and the growing demand for nuclear energy, biofuels, and natural gas is straining fresh water supplies. Such complex connections between energy and water are poorly understood and under-reported, but the stakes for countries like China, India, and the United States are sky-high. The water-energy choke point could endanger economic growth, food production, and even political stability.
As part of a rich collection of original research, the China Environment Forum (CEF) and Circle of Blue produced 16 multimedia stories (see links below) that illustrate the intensifying confrontation between energy demand and freshwater supply. Choke Point: China delves into the water-energy nexus in China, combining world-class expertise, networks, and reporting forms to bring Choke Point stories to key decision-makers, the public, and the media. Choke Point: China is not a narrative of doom and gloom, and these Choke Point narratives reinforce achievements on a range of water conservation and efficiency measures.
In May of 2012, the Circle of Blue team returned to China for a second round of research on the water energy confrontation. Read their blog posts (below) from a farm in Heilongjiang Province, the streets of lush Changsha, and beyond.
Choke Point: China is a joint China Environment Forum and Circle of Blue initiative. The first two years of this research and reporting project were made possible by Energy Foundation and additional support from Vermont Law School, USAID, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Blue Moon Fund and the Alpern Foundation. Choke Point: China Part II is supported by Skoll Global Threats Fund, with additional support from Vermont Law School and USAID.
CHOKE POINT: CHINA II
- Toxic Water: Across Much of China, Huge Harvests Irrigated with Industrial and Agricultural Runoff
- China’s Water Reserves and World’s Warming Atmosphere Wait For Natural Gas Breakthrough
- Scarcity of Water and Land Shifts Geography of Food Production and Irrigation Networks to China’s Northeast
- Food Supply, Fracking, and Water Scarcity Challenge China’s Juggernaut Economy
- Keith Schneider Posts Update from the Fields of Shenyang, June 12, 2012
- Nadya Ivanovna Researches Water Patterns in Gansu and Hunan, June 8, 2012
- Keith Schneider Describes History of YouYi Farm, Heilongjiang Province, June 5, 2012
CHOKE POINT: CHINA I
- Building China’s 21st-century Megacity: Shanghai’s Experiment with Water and Nature
- Double Choke Point: Demand for Energy Tests Water Supply and Economic Stability in China and the U.S.
- Energy Economy Brings Change to Shepherd Life: Modernization Comes to the Dry Grasslands of Inner Mongolia
- Rains Bring Relief For Six-Month China Drought, But Chronic Water Problems Loom
- China’s Other Looming Choke Point: Food Production
- Off the Deep End — Beijing’s Water Demand Outpaces Supply Despite Conservation, Recycling, and Imports
- Water Needs Curtail China’s Coal Gasification For Fuel, Yet Conversion To Chemicals Pushes Ahead
- Q&A: Ma Jun on China’s Economic Development and Water Resources
- Bohai Sea Pipeline Could Open China’s Northern Coal Fields
- Surge of New Dams in Southwest China Produces Power and Public Ire
- China Responds to Explosive Growth, Pollution, and Water Scarcity in Latest Five-Year Plan
- Water Rights Transfers and High-Tech Power Plants Hold off Energy-Water Clash in Northern China
- A Dry and Anxious North Awaits China’s Giant, Unproven Water Transport Scheme
- New Wind and Solar Sectors Won’t Solve China’s Water Scarcity
- Choke Point: China—Confronting Water Scarcity and Energy Demand in the World’s Largest Country
Photo © Aaron Jaffe / Circle of Blue