China Wakes Up Thirsty and Worried

A US public opinion survey typically samples a few thousand. So, when a Chinese survey on environmental concerns polled millions it got our attention. Representative sample size? Biased? Who knows. What we learned beyond doubt is that clean water is getting scarce and people are worried, seriously worried. Reminiscent of the US circa 1971. From the China Daily of July 29th: "Clean drinking water is the public's No 1 environmental concern according to a State survey released yesterday. The investigation was carried out by the All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF) and supervised by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), in April and May. More than 4 million people from 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities or special administrative regions took part in the survey, airing their opinions on China's environmental issues"..."More than 96 per cent of the people surveyed said China is challenged by a water shortage crisis and that building a water-saving society is the most effective way to solve the problem".TreeHugger saw the detailed rankings. Climate change did not even make the list. No mention of the relationship between floods, drought and water availability.

Bodes poorly for public support, in China, of a "Plan B" for the failed Kyoto Treaty. The good news is that government sponsored technocrats might be inventing a host of technologies and creative public policies to improve drinking water supplies. We'll be watching and reporting back.