China's Water

The China Water Initiative aims at advancing water resources research and sustainable management of water and related resources (energy, land, mining, food) through strategic partnership with government and private sector agencies in China. We are a team of researchers, scientists, and faculties at various institutions in the Hong Kong SAR, mainland China and the United States, with backgrounds of engineering, science and management.

Each year the Columbia Water Center hosts several visiting scholars from China.  These scholars have worked on a range of research projects from virtual water, the effects of land-use change induced by human activities on hydrology to a climate-informed water risk assessment covering multi-sector water demands.

Most of the projects in China have been analytical. Water risk at the county level was assessed for the whole country (Chen et al., 2013). Climate-based forecasts of floods and river flows were developed for the Yangtze and the Huai Rivers. An analysis of the connection between and predictability of the Indian and Chinese monsoons was conducted.

China Water Initiative Projects

A virtual water flow and water productivity analysis was performed for China at the international, provincial and basin levels. Results of the study provide decision makers with information on how to improve water resource management by reducing virtual water exports and improving water productivity from water-stressed regions.

Human activities including urbanization, irrigation and deforestation have affected direct runoff time, peak flow characteristics and water quality in the Yangtze River Basin. A CWC visiting scholar assessed the hydrologic response to land use variance between 1992 and 2003 in the lower-middle Yangtze River using the Soil Conservation Service Cerrc Number method.

In China, competition between agriculture and industry has increased over the past ten years. This study provides a scientific reference for reliable water allocation for current and projected demand scenarios.

Related academic papers:

Chen, X., N. Devineni, U. Lall, Z. Hao, L. Dong, Q. Ju, J. Wang, and S. Wang. “China’s water sustainability in the 21st century: a climate informed water risk assessment covering multi-sector water demands” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 8/22/2013, ISSN: 1812-2108, Volume 10, Issue 8, p. 11129.

Hyun-Han Kwon, Casey Brown, Kaiqin Xu, Upmanu Lall, June 2009, “Seasonal and Annual Maximum Streamflow Forecasting Using Climate Information: Application to the Three Gorges Dam in the Yangtze River Basin, China,” Journal of Hydrological Sciences, 54(3)