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China’s great water wall


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chinas-great-water-wallWashington Times:

The Chinese government’s recent decision to build an array of new dams on rivers flowing to other countries seems set to roil inter-riparian relations in Asia and make it more difficult to establish rules-based water cooperation and sharing.

Asia, not Africa, is the world’s driest continent. China, which already boasts more large dams than the rest of the world combined, has emerged as the key impediment to building institutionalized collaboration on shared water resources. In contrast to the bilateral water treaties between many of its neighbors, China rejects the concept of a water-sharing arrangement or joint, rules-based management of common resources.

The long-term implications of China’s dam program for India are particularly stark because several major rivers flow south from the Tibetan plateau. India has water-sharing treaties with both the countries located downstream from it: the Indus pact with Pakistan guarantees the world’s largest cross-border flows of any treaty regime, while the Ganges accord has set a new principle in international water law by assuring Bangladesh an equal share of downriver flows in the dry season. China, by contrast, does not have a single water-sharing treaty with any neighbor.Scissors-32x32.png

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