John Gates: China has approximately 10% economic growth per year and has all the associated environmental problems. Water is a major issue in China with respect to water quality and quantity.
That’s hydrogeologist John Gates at the University of Texas at Austin. He returned recently from China, where he conducted water research on the North China plain.
John Gates: This is part of the ‘Chinese breadbasket’ if you will, in that much of their domestic food production is grown in the area. And as a result the demands for water resources are intense. We see some of the common symptoms that we see in this country.
Gates is talking about problems like increasing salinity, nitrate pollution, and falling water tables in northern China. He and his colleagues are studying how water there moves around, and the processes affecting the water chemistry.
John Gates: When you look at the pie chart of water use in most countries, agriculture is almost always the most significant chunk, and so when we talk about water use and water efficiency, we have to start from the perspective of agriculture.
Nearly 90% of today’s global fresh water supply is used for food production.
Our thanks to:
Postdoctoral Fellow, Bureau of Economic Geology
University of Texas
Learning to love science. As a producer for EarthSky, Lindsay Patterson interviews some of the world's most fascinating scientists. Through EarthSky, her work content is syndicated on some of the world's top media websites, including USAToday.com and Reuters.com. Patterson is also charged with helping to stay in steady communication with the thousands of scientists who contribute to EarthSky's work of making the voice of science heard in a noisy world. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in creative writing, and a keen interest in all forms of journalism and media.