With one-fifth of the world’s population but only seven percent of its fresh water resources, China has to contend with complex issues when it comes to water. A new study from Xylem shows that 96 percent of the urban Chinese public view their country’s water challenges as serious. Major concerns include pollution, industrial discharge and overconsumption.
Xylem’s Value of Water Index, a study based on extensive interviews with members of the Chinese public as well water industry players, shows that 99 percent of respondents believe urgent action is needed to address China’s water challenges. More than two-thirds of respondents are concerned about the impact that water issues may have on the Chinese economy.
The Xylem 2014 Value of Water Index is the third installment of the study, and the first to be conducted outside the US. The Index was created as part of Xylem’s commitment to help solve the global water challenge, designed to help understand the general public’s perception of this key issue.
The concerns of the survey respondents are supported by a study released by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, which revealed that much of China’s groundwater is polluted. The study, as reported by the Xinhua News Agency, described the water quality in an estimated 60 percent of China’s 4,778 groundwater-monitoring sites as “bad” or “very bad,” further underlining the severity of China’s water challenge.
Finding solutions to China’s water challenges
“We conducted the Value of Water Index in China to better understand the public perception of water challenges here, in addition to gathering industry experts’ opinions on possible solutions,” said Shuping Lu, President of Xylem China. “We’ve learned that there is a broad understanding of the pressing need to address water challenges in China, and most people are willing to play a role to help achieve this important goal.”
A vast majority of respondents said they are willing to make their own contributions to solving water issues, for example by changing their own behavior, conserving water and investing more, in order to have access to safer, cleaner water. 92 percent also support collaboration between the government and the private sector to address the challenges.
The Chinese government recently announced its plans to spend two trillion yuan (US$330 billion) to address its water issues, with a particular focus on improving water quality through investment in infrastructure and technology.
“There is meaningful progress being made in China,” said Shuping Lu, “and Xylem hopes to support the government’s efforts as we continue to identify and develop solutions together.”
To view the full results of the Index, visit http://www.xyleminc.com/valueofwater/