60% Of China's Water "Too Polluted To Drink"

Tyler Durden's picture


Forget bank-runs, the water run has begun in China. Residents of the western city of Lanzhou rushed to buy mineral water earlier this month after local tap water was found to contain excessive levels of the toxic chemical benzene. But that is the tip of what is a massive problem facing the Chinese people. Not only do they suffer choking smog day after day, but, as The Business Times reports, sixty per cent of underground water in China which is officially monitored is too polluted to drink directly, state media have reported, underlining the country's grave environmental problems.



As The Business Times reports,

Sixty per cent of underground water in China which is officially monitored is too polluted to drink directly, state media have reported, underlining the country's grave environmental problems.


Water quality measured in 203 cities across the country last year rated "very poor" or "relatively poor" in an annual survey released by the Ministry of Land and Resources, the official Xinhua news agency said late Tuesday.


Water rated "relatively" poor quality cannot be used for drinking without prior treatment, while water of "very" poor quality cannot be used as a source of drinking water, the report said.


The proportion of water not suitable for direct drinking rose from 57.4 per cent from 2012, it said.

As we noted previously, The World Bank's Ismail Serageldin puts it succinctly: "The wars of the 21st century will be fought over water."

That old axiom that the earth is 75% water... not quite. In reality, water constitutes only 0.07% of the earth by mass, or 0.4% by volume.


This is how much we have, depicted graphically:



What this shows is the relative size of our water supply if it were all gathered together into a ball and superimposed on the globe.


The large blob, centered over the western US, is all water (oceans, icecaps, glaciers, lakes, rivers, groundwater, and water in the atmosphere). It's a sphere about 860 miles in diameter, or roughly the distance from Salt Lake City to Topeka. The smaller sphere, over Kentucky, is the fresh water in the ground and in lakes, rivers, and swamps.


Now examine the image closely. See that last, tiny dot over Georgia? It's the fresh water in lakes and rivers.

There's no doubt that this is a looming crisis we cannot avoid. Everyone has an interest in water. How quickly we respond to the challenges ahead is going to be a matter, literally, of life and death. Where we have choices at all, we had better make some good ones.

Your rating: None

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:39 | 4688677 Four chan
Four chan's picture

gutter oil and gutter water is what you get when you are over populated slaves.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:47 | 4688707 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Best part is those bottles are bathing the H20 in BPA.


Tastes like happy

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:06 | 4688772 pods
pods's picture

Chinese manboobs FTW.

Not like there wasn't any recent history outlining what happens when you run your drain pipe right into the river.

And China is going to be leading the world.  lol.  


Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:14 | 4688813 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Stoopid graphics.  How many people live in the earth's core?

OK, the banksters and economists condemned to Hell, but that's their problem.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:19 | 4688829 pods
pods's picture

Dick Cheney?

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:40 | 4688892 max2205
max2205's picture

The wealth tax should take care of that

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:16 | 4689014 markmotive
markmotive's picture

China is the Developed World's back alley.

Severe Water Shortages to Hit Half the World’s Population by 2050


Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:15 | 4689182 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

Maybe we'll evolve into something immune to all this stuff.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 02:33 | 4689429 Tengri Temujin
Tengri Temujin's picture

No problem the Russians can build pipelines and bring them fresh clear sparkling pure Siberian River Water alongsides the pipelines with gas and oil.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 03:31 | 4689478 old naughty
old naughty's picture


Can anyone think of a graver term?

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 04:25 | 4689521 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

A toast!...to Free-Market, Unregulated, Broad Shouldered Kapitalism™.

Piss in society's pool, cash out, buy your own small, pristine, "slice of heaven" with the spoils, then leave your "less-talented" fellow man to wallow in the filth you left behind

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:10 | 4689170 toady
toady's picture

Hey! That's supposed to be a undisclosed location!

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:32 | 4688871 CoonT
CoonT's picture

Greatest avatar eva! Makes a pretty sweet desktop too ;)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:39 | 4688678 john39
john39's picture

the joys of globalization never cease.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:08 | 4688781 pods
pods's picture

For a real joy you can stroll through your supermarket to see how much FOOD comes from China and surrounding areas.

Ummm, Tilapia.


Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:12 | 4688803 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I just got the runs.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:18 | 4688825 hobopants
hobopants's picture

I feel a little better about myself everytime I take a drink from the tap.


Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:29 | 4688862 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I guess I'm fortunate, a lot of limestone around here.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 02:34 | 4689432 Tengri Temujin
Tengri Temujin's picture

you must be in Texas Nmewn, or Arkansas

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 06:55 | 4689685 Element
Element's picture

Say, you don't suppose someone's talking their book to sell bottled water to Chinese chumps and suckers do you?

Type 'Karst topography in China' into google image, they have a fair bit of limestone there too ... in fact, the top of Mt Everest ... yup ... all limestone ... there's millions of square kms of the stuff in China.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:57 | 4689248 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture


Now that was funny.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:25 | 4688849 john39
john39's picture

I know someone who had to inspect a fish farm in China once...  they had a whol section of the line dedicated to pulling out worms and parasites from the fish meat...  anyone feel like sushi?

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:26 | 4688856 pods
pods's picture

Wonder what they did with the worms?



Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:39 | 4688679 hobopants
hobopants's picture

Guess i'll have to drink more beer instead.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:48 | 4688710 nmewn
nmewn's picture


The "sixty per cent of underground water in China...is officially monitored" its not like good communist party "officials" owning/having interest in, water bottling companies would lie in "official statements" to the Chinese public or anything.

That would be unethical ;-)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:12 | 4689175 fattail
fattail's picture

Fair point...  I would still bet the same party members are more likely to have benefitted from the pollution of said ground water.  

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:40 | 4688683 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

currently testing my tap water

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:28 | 4688859 john39
john39's picture

Americans are deluded if they think that their tap water is safe or healthy.  in addition to the metals (aluminum, iron and often lead), there is enough fluoride, pesticides and drugs in most tap water to cause real long term damage.  RO water or distillation is required for anyone who gives a damn about their health.  Better yet, well water in an area where farm pesticides and herbacides haven't leached too deep into groundwater.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:39 | 4688891 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Johns right about this.

There are two ways to go, filter tap water or take your chances. In a former line of work, I got to see the inside of a water main when it got cut. Its as green with algae as those slippery rocks at your local lake/river.

The chemicals can't kill it all WITHOUT killing you...but you're still ingesting what they put in it. Its all highly regulated though (like everything else), so no worries.

Bottoms up ;-)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:00 | 4688956 edotabin
edotabin's picture

I'll finally get some decent rest tonight.  The water supply is regulated. Pheww that was close one.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:28 | 4689057 nmewn
nmewn's picture


Always here to help ;-)

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 07:39 | 4689789 N2OJoe
N2OJoe's picture

Don't forget about all the pharmaceutical poisons from people taking their pills then sending them out the other end(or just flushing when they hit the exp date).

So difficult(costly) to remove from the water that most treatment plants don't even try, they just treat the sewage as if the drugs weren't even there.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 00:19 | 4689285 Seer
Seer's picture

"In a former line of work, I got to see the inside of a water main when it got cut."

Pipe welder?  Or, were you trained in water treatment?  (serious)

It's an impossible task for water suppliers.  You have varying levels of things in your raw water (there is no such thing as perfect water!), and any treatment and filtration activitiy is constantly under changing conditions due to fouling/loading.

I cannot speak to the floride issue as I don't know about it (other than I'd prefer NOT to have any in my water), but, to deal with baceria they have to utilize chlorine in one way or another AND they HAVE to have residual due to the long delivery pipes (as you can attest to get a bit yucky).

I personally use hydrogen peroxide to deal with bacteria (and as an oxidant for iron and manganese).  Lab tests have always come back with "not present."  But I don't have long delivery lines/pipes to worry about.

A LOT of rural people deal with crappy water (I refuse to, as I know my priorities [and I believe I've got a fair understanding of water treatment now]- Food, Shelter and Water).  The municipal systems that I've been exposed to are some of the best that exist, raw water sources aren't subject to a lot of the wierd stuff that others are finding in their water.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 00:11 | 4689267 Seer
Seer's picture

My tap water is fine, though I've got higher levels of manganese than I'd like.  Of course, I'm also my own water treatment engineer and operator, so I have control over my water.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 00:15 | 4689278 MeMongo
MeMongo's picture

Big John. Gotcha covered here in SWPA. Cold ass clear and very tasty well water, my only real concern is all the fracking going on near me! But until otherwise I will continue to enjoy my 75ft well:-)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:41 | 4688690 drendebe10
drendebe10's picture

... and they want there fiat yuan to be the reserve currency???

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:42 | 4688693 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Is it too late for erf day past predictions gone terribly awry?


Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:54 | 4688702 hobopants
hobopants's picture

Some of those were down right retarded, others seem like they just got the timing wrong.

I don't keep up on the climate change BS but this one seems interesting given the current thinking.

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

Maybe he was on to something given the recent cases of icebreaker vessels getting stuck in ice.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:55 | 4688733 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Wildebeast "scientists"...lol...its a new ice age coming!

No, its a population bomb! (still got the poster in the attic, I think) world wide starvation! No, we're going to burn to a crisp and the ice packs will melt and wash our ashes away!

Or sumpin ;-)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 20:59 | 4688746 hobopants
hobopants's picture

How about the one where yellowstone fracks itself, and we get to live in the dark for awhile? Classic.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:14 | 4688814 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Now THAT one has me a little concerned...lol.

But the science is settled, cow farts will be the death of us all ;-)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:27 | 4688855 hobopants
hobopants's picture

Of course! That's still the official reason we killed all the buffalo right? They were gross polluters?

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:47 | 4688916 nmewn
nmewn's picture

We were just more methodical at it and thought of it as sport. Its not like we set plains on fire to drive them to their death (and everything else in the way of the fire) or stampeded them over cliffs and took what we wanted and let the vultures have the rest or anything ;-)

People...red, black, yellow or white can do some crazy shit, looking back with a present perspective.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:25 | 4688964 hobopants
hobopants's picture

Truth! Native americans of the time had some great thinkers and a unique perspective, but it is doing them (and indirectly us) a disservice to romanticize them into a caricature of rousseau's noble savage. Anyone that has read a description of tribal warfare would quickly dismiss that notion.

That being said we got a bit carried away with the slaughter. As a hunter I can't abide by wanton waste of a tasty animal, no matter who is doing it.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:33 | 4689079 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Exactly right, it is a disservice to what they were.

The brainwashing darkness is deep...but every once in a while a ray of sunlight breaks through. We (whites/blacks/browns/yellows) were no better (or worse) than the reds, at that time.

The least we can do (all colors) is learn from it.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 23:13 | 4689179 Jugdish
Jugdish's picture

You guys are being relativists. Some groups of humans are superior to other races and cultures. Go to Detroit have a look. We murdered the knowledge and wisdom that the Native Americans had and replaced it with fuckin walmart and bank of America.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 06:51 | 4689684 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Well, relatively speaking, I never killed an Indian...lol.

But there is some truth in that, the central government did what it does best. It lied, broke treaty after treaty and yes, slaughtered entire villages.

Of course, I've never worked for government but my immediate ancestors did fight against Sheridan & Custer too ;-)

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 00:22 | 4689289 Seer
Seer's picture

I thought that they just committed suicide, just like the lemmings, by jumping over cliffs!

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:17 | 4688820 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

I'm liking the "peak phosphorus" stuff right now.

Apparently we'll all starve some time next year. Or was it last year? I lose track of doom scenarios so quickly.

Must be because they drove me to drink.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:19 | 4689010 Lore
Lore's picture

That's the part that pisses me off so much about all the environmental Al Qaedas trotted out by "green" Agenda 21 control freaks.  You finish debunking one heavily-marketed brand of snake oil, and they trot out a new flavour, and the solution is always more oligarchical collectivism.  How long before somebody comes up with the brilliant revelation that we have Peak Government, and the world is going to hell on a handcart because of "global banking?"

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!