With close to 1.5 billion citizens, including a middle-class that is estimated to grow from 12% in 2010 to 50% of the population by 2021, China’s changing patterns of consumption and migration are of global significance. As people earn more money, access to health, education, and capital increases creating new opportunities for improving quality of life. It also means huge numbers of people are consuming more protein-based foods, buying more stuff, traveling more, demanding more energy and water, etc. China is unquestionably on a fast economic development trajectory, but at what risk? Can the country's ecological infrastructure keep up? What systems and initiatives are in place to ensure the sustainability of ecosystem services, particularly water resources, that so much of this development relies on?
The Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability's China's Waters Program is focused on the water-development nexus to advance our understanding of water resource use, protection, and governance in China, namely in Southern China. Our particular emphasis on the Upper Mekong Basin in Yunnan Province, the Yangtze River Delta in the metropolitan area surrounding Shanghai, and the Lijiang River in Guangxi Province. In each of these areas, we are exploring the implications of various economic development strategies on the ecological infrastructure systems of the region, namely water systems, and what opportunities and strategies are available to manage these more sustainably.
Details coming soon