Water resources in Asia: From a geopolitical point of view

Water resources in Asia: From a geopolitical point of view

In absolute terms, China is one of the most water-rich countries in the world. With almost 7% of the world’s fresh water resources, the country lies sixth after Brazil, Russia, Canada, the United States and Indonesia. Nevertheless, with one-fifth of the world’s total population, the country’s per capita water availability represents one-quarter of the global average.

The management of water resources is a significant and complex challenge in both China and India. In these two countries, industrialisation and urbanisation, agricultural practices and demographic growth over the last two or three decades have seriously affected the environment in general and water resources in particular. In both cases, surface water pollution and decreasing groundwater levels are troubling issues looking ahead.
While both countries find themselves confronted with difficult situations, China and India have reacted in significantly different ways. In a general sense, the Chinese authorities have been sensitive to water-related issues. Via a comparative study of water governance in China and India, Isabelle Saint-Mézard gives us some areas to consider regarding the challenges surrounding the increasingly worrying question of water in Asia.

This strategic resources flows mainly from the mountains in the east (the Himalayas) to all four points of the compass. Several of the large Asian rivers begin in China and go on to become lifelines for other downstream countries. If Chinese demand exceeds the flow it shares with its neighbours, is there a risk we might see Beijing ‘turning off the tap’?  Could it be that in the future – as the fears of the concerned countries indicate – the large-scale Chinese water diversion projects aimed at providing water to dry areas will extend to international rivers, leading to a downriver dewatering?


28.09.2016 - 28.09.2016


Diplomacy Institute (Changping campus)

Shahe high education parc

Changping district, Beijing, Beijing



26.09.2016 10:00 - 26.09.2016 11:30
Free entrance


Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

7, 622 Nong, Huaihai Zhonglu

Luwan district, Shanghai, Shanghai


Phone : 021-53060606


26.09.2016 14:00


Shanghai University

788 Guangzhong lu, Jing An Qu

Jing'an district, Shanghai, Shanghai


Phone : +86 21 6613 2240






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