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Water Resources

Being an important and essential material for the existence of human and all creatures, water resources is also the extremely valuable and irreplaceable natural resources for industrial and agricultural production, economic development and environmental improvement.

Water resources can be defined in broad sense and narrow sense. In its broad sense, it refers to all kinds of water that can be used directly or indirectly and the substances in water. In other words, all the water which has use value and economic value can be called water resources. In its narrow sense, it refers to fresh water that can be used directly under certain economic and technical conditions.

1.1 Global Water Resources
About 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water, and the rest 30% of the land also finds the existence of water. The global water volume is 13.86 ×108 billion cubic meters, of which there is 0.35 ×108 billion cubic meters of fresh water, accounting for 2.53% of the total reserves. Owing to exploitation difficulties and techno-economic limitations, seawater, deep groundwater and solid-state fresh water in the form of ice and snow have seldom been directly used. Nevertheless, the total reserves of lakes, rivers and shallow underground freshwater resources that are easily exploited and closely related to human life and production only amount to 10.46 ×104 billion cubic meters, accounting for 0.34% of the total reserves of fresh water, less than one ten thousandth of global water reserves.

What’s more, due to difference in geographical environment, the reserves of water resources in every country and region vary considerably. Countries listed by the total volume of water resources in decreasing order are: Brazil, Russia, Canada, and China.

1.2 Water Resources in China
China is a country that suffers from serious drought and water scarcity. Being one of the thirteen countries short of water, China has a total amount of 2.8 trillion cubic meters of freshwater resources accounting for 6% of global water resources and ranking the sixth in the world, but its per capita amount of freshwater resources is only 2.2 thousand cubic meters, 1/4 of the world’s average and 1/5 of the United States, ranking the one hundred and twenty-first in the world. In addition, because of the monsoon climate, the distribution of water resources in China varies from time and space, resulting in difference between the north and the South. The nine Northern provinces belong to water-scarce areas, with per capita amount of freshwater resources less than 500 cubic meters. Especially in recent years, because of the sharp increase of the urban population, ecological degradation, serious waste and water pollution caused by backward technology in industrial and agricultural water consumption, water shortage has become a main obstacle for sustainable development of the country.