"How China manages its water resources over the next five to seven years has profound implications not only for the Chinese people but also for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Within China, water supplies—already scarce in many parts of the country—are diminishing and contributing to a range of serious economic, health, and social challenges. Spillover effects, such as damming and diverting transnational rivers, a push to acquire arable land abroad, and increasing conflict over regional fishery resources are also being felt well outside the country’s borders. China’s leaders have adopted a number of measures to try to address the country’s growing water crisis, but these have fallen woefully short of the task at hand. In the context of the U.S. rebalance to Asia, China’s water challenge, if not addressed, is a potentially destabilizing force within the region and suggests the need for targeted collaboration with Chinese actors as well as stronger cooperation with regional partners."
During a July 24th hearing on the Rebalance to Asia III: Protecting the Environment and Ensuring Food and Water Security in East Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies of Council on Foreign Relations, shared with the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs her view on China's water challenge and its implications for the U.S. rebalance to Asia.