Water Management : A Supply Oriented Paradigm Of Expanding The Capacity Of Accessible Water

1736 Words Dec 5th, 2015 null Page
For decades, water management in China has been dominated by a supply-oriented paradigm of expanding the capacity of accessible water through large-scale infrastructure projects like building of dams. Although they have provided effective solutions for chronic water crises, these are expensive projects and have come at irreversible and postponed ecological, economic and social costs (Wang et al., 2020). As more concerns are raised regarding the over-reliance on infrastructure solutions, discussion of a sustainable future suggests greater focus on the demand, rather than the supply, side of the equation. In order to bring about this shift within the water management approach in China, the biggest changes must come about within the very core of the Chinese water governance institution.

The current water governance scheme in China is riparian, where water rights are managed under the State authority, inhibiting autonomy in localities in managing their water resources (Lehane, 2015). The lack of private water and land rights creates challenges for implementing water-trading schemes such as those needed for equitable water demand management across China’s basins. In the early 1980s the Household Responsibility System (HRS) gave farmers land-use rights through land leasing, providing some security for land users while encouraging investments and expansion of production. And in 1987 the Yellow River Water Allocation Scheme [No. 61] outlined for the first time water use rights and…

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