factors will most likely determine China's future water demand:
With further economic
development, we can almost certainly expect growing water demand in the urban and
industrial sectors. Public water supply for residential use will have to increase
substantially in line with the projected rapid urbanization. Currently, China is still far
behind in this sector. It is estimated that 75% of the cities in China do not have an
adequate potable water supply.
On the other hand, we can
also expect that additional programs for rational and efficient water use will be
implemented. As the agricultural sector is by far the largest water user in China, we
might see only a slight increase in water extraction in this sector due to conservation
measures. Because water efficiency is still rather low in Chinese irrigation (and since
irrigation makes up a large share of water use), improvements in irrigation efficiency
could actually lead to a leveling off or even a decline in agricultural water consumption.
modernization will drive up water demand in urban and industrial sectors, it could also
greatly improve water efficiency in all sectors, especially in agriculture. It is very
difficult to determine which trend might dominate, so the prediction error of China's
future water demand is certainly high.