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China and water

When Marie Antoinette was told that the peasants needed drinking water, she replied "Let them drink Coke". Off with her head! At the Johannesburg Conference on Sustainable Development, the reply was "The hot air we produce here will condense". The problem is real: The September 2002 issue of National Grographic features an article on it, with a fold-out map titled "A Thirsty Planet". One could stare at it for hours. China is taking action, as a feature article in the New York Times (8/27/02) explains. A large map shows the canals to be built to bring water from the south, which has a surplus, to the parched, densely populated north. It is fashionable to criticize or even ridicule Chinese water megaprojects, but China has a long experience in this field. Anyone who wishes the Chinese people well must hope the new plan succeeds.

Ronald Hilton - 8/28/02