Recently I traveled to Southeast Yunnan in China to see the spectacular Yuan Yang rice terraces, flooded and ready for spring planting. Rice is a very water-hungry crop and China is the worldâ€™s largest producer of rice and grain. Yet China is facing a perilous water crisis.
China becomes drier each yearâ€”its freshwater reserves declined 13% between 2000 and 2009. Severe droughts occurred in 2000, 2007 and 2009. Normally the southern regions receive 80% of Chinaâ€™s rainfall and snowmelt, about 79 inches a year, while the north and west get 20%, 8 to 16 inches.
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