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Newest Article

Mongolia Copper Mine at Oyu Tolgoi Tests Water Supply and Young Democracy

Mining boom in South Gobi influenced by local and global citizen activism

China Tests New Strategy to Curb Coal Demand, Reduce Air Pollution, and Conserve Water

Nation’s Ministry of Environment turns to Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum for help.

Toxic Water: Across Much of China, Huge Harvests Irrigated with Industrial and Agricultural Runoff

The dirty truth about the world’s largest grain producer.

China’s Water Reserves and World’s Warming Atmosphere Wait For Natural Gas Breakthrough

China’s deep shale reserves are treacherous to tap and slow to develop.

Scarcity of Water and Land Shifts Geography of Food Production and Irrigation Networks to China’s Northeast

Rich land, ample water, and human persistence have turned virgin prairie into the primary breadbasket for China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy that is pursuing grain production with a single-minded purpose.

Food Supply, Fracking, and Water Scarcity Challenge China’s Juggernaut Economy

New project finds that building the world’s fastest-growing economy risks public safety and tests global resource limits. Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue An expensive program to expand irrigation networks is occurring in Inner Mongolia, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, which has prompted concern because it would push new irrigation canals into highly […]

Building China’s 21st-century Megacity: Shanghai’s Experiment with Water and Nature

A new community on the Yangtze River has, so far, been more successful at attracting ducks than people. But city officials have their sights set high for Lingang Port City, which they say could be home to nearly a million people by 2050. Cleaner water will be a big help.

Double Choke Point: Demand for Energy Tests Water Supply and Economic Stability in China and the U.S.

The cords of energy demand and water supply are tightening around the world's two largest economies.

Energy Economy Brings Change to Shepherd Life: Modernization Comes to the Dry Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

Along the vast frozen grasslands, 23-year-old Wu Yun and her father, Bao Zhu, tend their flock of sheep and cattle. Just over the ridge, the northern city of Xilinhot is booming as the coal industry continues to expand. But it will take a lot of water to feed both the city and the mining.

Rains Bring Relief For Six-Month China Drought, But Chronic Water Problems Loom

Although now satiated, the dry spell is the latest in a growing trend of severe water shortages threatening China's food production, energy generation, and accelerating modernization.

China’s Other Looming Choke Point: Food Production

The Yellow River Basin is the center of a contest over water, energy, and agriculture.

Off the Deep End — Beijing’s Water Demand Outpaces Supply Despite Conservation, Recycling, and Imports

How China's capital got in over its head, and what the city is doing to get its water crisis under control.

Water Needs Curtail China’s Coal Gasification For Fuel, Yet Conversion To Chemicals Pushes Ahead

Though coal-to-liquids has been suspended due to water scarcity, the process uses 50 percent less water per unit of end product compared with coal-to-chemicals processes which have been given the go-ahead in hopes of slowing petroleum imports.

Q&A: Ma Jun on China’s Economic Development and Water Resources

Ma Jun tells Circle of Blue that China is still on the track of a highly energy- and resource-intensive model, with the need to de-couple economic growth from the expansion of resource consumption

Bohai Sea Pipeline Could Open China’s Northern Coal Fields

Disputed project seen as a must for modernization.

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Multimedia

Newest Article

Photo Slideshow: China’s Polluted Waters

Pollution is a major driver of water scarcity in China, especially in the places where economic growth is the highest and water resources are under the most stress — China’s dry northern breadbaskets and its biggest manufacturing hubs in the south and east.

Map: China’s Provincial Water Resources and Use (2002-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, faces multiple challenges for sustaining its water supply.

Map: China’s Provincial Energy Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, races to meet rising demand for energy. Similar Interactive China Maps Map © Samuel Kosinski / Circle of Blue Click image to launch the interactive Google Fusion Tables map. For more interactive maps of China’s historical data, check out […]

Map: China’s Provincial Grain Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, has shifted its bread baskets to the north.

Photo Slideshow: Irrigating Northeastern China’s Breadbasket

The northeast region of China, including Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces, is among the world’s most important breadbaskets. Earlier this year, as Circle of Blue reported in this Choke Point: China article, China’s central government announced a five-year, $US 6.3 billion program to rebuild and expand irrigation networks in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and eastern Inner […]

Video: Scarcity, Pollution, and Energy are Choke Point: China II Focus

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and energy that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade. Nadya Ivanova: China is a place in […]

Map: Major Hydropower in China

China is pushing its renewable energy agenda by investing in hydropower. By 2015, the Chinese government expects that its installed capacity from hydropower will amount to 300,000 megawatts, thus reducing the nation's reliance on fossil fuels.

Infographic: China’s Water Pollution Events and Protection Policies (2004-2011)

China has some of the dirtiest and most dangerous water in the world. This detailed and interactive timeline shows key pollution events, protests, and policy reforms from the last eight years at both the national and regional levels as China tries to clean up its act.

Video: Confronting Water Scarcity & Energy Demand in China

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and fuel that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.

Infographic: Map of Pollution Levels in China’s Major River Basins

The seven major river basins, as a whole, have had steady improvements in water quality over the past decade.

Photo Slideshow: City of Coal on the Inner Mongolia Steppe

Xilinhot — an Inner Mongolian outpost of 177,000 residents, separated from Beijing by a 12-hour train ride — is at the center of the Xilin Gol Grassland, one of China's largest prairies and livestock production regions. The north's coal mines, trucks, and power plants are representative of the nation's coal dependency, a lifeline with an insatiable thirst for water

Infographic: Interactive Timeline Mapping China’s Drought-ridden Provinces Since 2007

Water scarcity is becoming an increasingly persistent problem for China, with droughts affecting several regions over the last four years. This spring’s extreme weather is the latest in a series of water shortages, exposing the risks that limited freshwater resources pose for the world’s biggest agricultural producer, top energy consumer, and fastest-growing industrial economy. Click […]

Photo Slideshow: Food and Farmers — China’s Other Challenge

The farm sector and the coal sector together made up 85 percent of water used in China last year. These photos take a look at the people and places affected by rising energy demand, accelerating modernization, and diminishing freshwater resources.

Infographic: How Desalination Works

What is the process, and how much energy does it take? This video describes two common methods—reverse osmosis and flash distillation—for obtaining water from the sea.

Infographic: Underground Coal Conversion — Creating Fuels and Fertilizers with Less Water

Though the chemistry and industrial processes for coal gasification were developed early in the 20th century by European scientists, Chinese engineers have recently developed a number of technical advances. And more efficient processes means using less coal to produce more chemicals. Near Xilinhot, in eastern Inner Mongolia, China is testing a gasification process that doesn’t […]

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Choke Point: China - Photo Slideshows

Newest Article

Photo Slideshow: China’s Polluted Waters

Pollution is a major driver of water scarcity in China, especially in the places where economic growth is the highest and water resources are under the most stress — China’s dry northern breadbaskets and its biggest manufacturing hubs in the south and east.

Photo Slideshow: Irrigating Northeastern China’s Breadbasket

The northeast region of China, including Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces, is among the world’s most important breadbaskets. Earlier this year, as Circle of Blue reported in this Choke Point: China article, China’s central government announced a five-year, $US 6.3 billion program to rebuild and expand irrigation networks in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and eastern Inner […]

Video: Scarcity, Pollution, and Energy are Choke Point: China II Focus

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and energy that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade. Nadya Ivanova: China is a place in […]

Video: Confronting Water Scarcity & Energy Demand in China

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and fuel that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.

Photo Slideshow: City of Coal on the Inner Mongolia Steppe

Xilinhot — an Inner Mongolian outpost of 177,000 residents, separated from Beijing by a 12-hour train ride — is at the center of the Xilin Gol Grassland, one of China's largest prairies and livestock production regions. The north's coal mines, trucks, and power plants are representative of the nation's coal dependency, a lifeline with an insatiable thirst for water

Photo Slideshow: Food and Farmers — China’s Other Challenge

The farm sector and the coal sector together made up 85 percent of water used in China last year. These photos take a look at the people and places affected by rising energy demand, accelerating modernization, and diminishing freshwater resources.

Photo Slideshow: Beijing Water Imports and Wastewater Recycling

A gallery of images from Beijing and neighboring Hebei Province, where the capital city is importing water from farmers and fishermen.

Photo Slideshow: Bohai Pipeline Could Bring Water to China’s Coal Industry

Images from northern China, where a proposed pipeline could be the answer to a resource mismatch of coal wealth and water poverty.

Photo Slideshow: Irrigation to Industry — Trading Water Rights in China’s Yellow River Basin

New industries invest in repairing irrigation canals in exchange for the right to use water from the Yellow River.

Photo Slideshow: China’s South-North Water Transfer Project

Taken together, the three lines are an audacious strategy to solve the increasingly dire confrontation between rising energy demand in a nation that is steadily getting drier.

Photo Slideshow — Choke Point: China

A gallery of images from Choke Point: China, a new water-energy series about the tightening noose that could choke off China’s modernization.

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In The Circle: Fresh Focus

Newest Article

Air Pollution: Eastern China Becomes A Smoker’s Lounge

Did you miss Circle of Blue's reporting on how cleaning up the power sector – namely coal – and reducing energy demand would clear the air and provide water benefits? Not to worry; Brett Walton gives an update on the current smog situation and how a recent report may provide solutions.

TIM: This Is Mongolia

Paved roads are still a rarity in this country, which is larger than Alaska and where 1.2 million people – 40 percent of the resident population – earn their keep herding livestock.

A Tank of Warm Water Brews a New Development Tea in Mongolia’s South Gobi Desert

Circle of Blue senior editor Keith Schneider wraps up his recent trip to Mongolia.

China Takes a Keen Interest in Water-Energy Connections

Circle of Blue’s Keith Schneider reports from Beijing on discussions about China’s resource challenge. Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue A team of American and Chinese water and energy specialists met in Beijing with the environmental scientists and sustainability experts of the Development Research Center of the State Council, the government research group […]

Contest Between Water and Energy Becoming Big Story

Back from China, Circle of Blue's senior editor notices a trend creeping from our headlines to those of other news organizations around the world.

Lessons in Rice, Water, and Farming

Circle of Blue's senior editor reports from the field, literally, as he ends his second week in the rice paddies of rural China.

Production, Water Savings, and a Heroic History on China’s State-owned Farms

Circle of Blue's senior editor starts his second of three weeks reporting in the field from China, where new infrastructure over the next five years will give a big boost to farming in a northeastern province.

In China, Every Square Meter Counts

Circle of Blue's senior editor wraps up his first of three weeks reporting in the field from China, finding a wealth of promise in fields of golden wheat.

Blues Festival and Blue Skies in Beijing

Circle of Blue's senior editor will be filing reports from China for the next three weeks. See what he has to say about Beijing's Blues Festival and a beautiful blue-sky day.

Behind The Scenes: Ball State University’s Collaboration with Circle of Blue

For her senior thesis project, Season Schafer, a student in Ball State University’s Immersive Learning Program, produced this interactive look behind the scenes at the unique partnership between the university’s journalism students and the journalists at Circle of Blue. Watch the interviews to learn more. Click here to see the infographics created by Ball State […]

Circle of Blue’s China Tour Finds Strong Reception for Water-Energy Choke Point Warning

Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum present at 17 events in 4 cities over 16 days.

Memo to Hu and Obama: Water and Energy Choke Points Merit Time at the China-U.S. Summit

Collaborate on resolving confrontation between rising energy demand and water scarcity in both countries.

Chinese Power Plant Develops Advanced Coal Technology

China attempts to move forward with its clean energy ambitions.

China’s Climate Emissions Are Global Issue, But Water Scarcity Is Greater Domestic Priority

China hosts its first U.N. climate conference as the country works to wed its financial and environmental ambitions.

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Choke Point: China

Newest Article

Air Pollution: Eastern China Becomes A Smoker’s Lounge

Did you miss Circle of Blue's reporting on how cleaning up the power sector – namely coal – and reducing energy demand would clear the air and provide water benefits? Not to worry; Brett Walton gives an update on the current smog situation and how a recent report may provide solutions.

Mongolia Copper Mine at Oyu Tolgoi Tests Water Supply and Young Democracy

Mining boom in South Gobi influenced by local and global citizen activism

China Tests New Strategy to Curb Coal Demand, Reduce Air Pollution, and Conserve Water

Nation’s Ministry of Environment turns to Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum for help.

Deep Sea Gas: China Follows Japan in Pursuit of New Energy Source

Though methane hydrate, a newly discovered unconventional natural gas reserve, is seen as an alternative to coal-fueled power, the technology for tapping deepwater supplies is not yet viable.

TIM: This Is Mongolia

Paved roads are still a rarity in this country, which is larger than Alaska and where 1.2 million people – 40 percent of the resident population – earn their keep herding livestock.

A Tank of Warm Water Brews a New Development Tea in Mongolia’s South Gobi Desert

Circle of Blue senior editor Keith Schneider wraps up his recent trip to Mongolia.

In China’s Coal Belt, A Refinery Drains Water and Life

A Chinese researcher reveals massive groundwater use at a coal-to-liquids plant in dry Inner Mongolia. Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue Qingwei Sun, former Greenpeace campaigner, and lead author of Thirsty Coal, a two-part report on the rising water demands of China’s largest energy sector. Click to see an enlarged image. BEIJING — […]

China Takes a Keen Interest in Water-Energy Connections

Circle of Blue’s Keith Schneider reports from Beijing on discussions about China’s resource challenge. Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue A team of American and Chinese water and energy specialists met in Beijing with the environmental scientists and sustainability experts of the Development Research Center of the State Council, the government research group […]

A Wild Ride Through Mongolia’s Resource Boom

A huge country with a tiny population navigates the problems of modern development. Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue A taxi to the wild side in Ulaanbataar, capital of Mongolia. Click to see an enlarged image. ULAANBATAAR — A hard rock and coal mining boom that really got rolling about a decade ago […]

Photo Slideshow: China’s Polluted Waters

Pollution is a major driver of water scarcity in China, especially in the places where economic growth is the highest and water resources are under the most stress — China’s dry northern breadbaskets and its biggest manufacturing hubs in the south and east.

Map: China’s Provincial Water Resources and Use (2002-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, faces multiple challenges for sustaining its water supply.

Map: China’s Provincial Energy Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, races to meet rising demand for energy. Similar Interactive China Maps Map © Samuel Kosinski / Circle of Blue Click image to launch the interactive Google Fusion Tables map. For more interactive maps of China’s historical data, check out […]

Toxic Water: Across Much of China, Huge Harvests Irrigated with Industrial and Agricultural Runoff

The dirty truth about the world’s largest grain producer.

Map: China’s Provincial Grain Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, has shifted its bread baskets to the north.

China’s Water Reserves and World’s Warming Atmosphere Wait For Natural Gas Breakthrough

China’s deep shale reserves are treacherous to tap and slow to develop.

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Related China Stories

Newest Article

Deep Sea Gas: China Follows Japan in Pursuit of New Energy Source

Deep Sea Gas: China Follows Japan in Pursuit of New Energy Source

Though methane hydrate, a newly discovered unconventional natural gas reserve, is seen as an alternative to coal-fueled power, the technology for tapping deepwater supplies is not yet viable.

First Time Key Global Energy Report Highlights Water Constraints of Energy Production

Energy is becoming a thirstier resource, the report states. Photo courtesy Hess Corporation North Dakota is in the midst of a hydrocarbon production boom, as gas and oil developers tap the Bakken Shale. But the boom also is generating civic resistance in the arid region because it requires significant quantities of fresh water. Brett Walton […]

U.S., U.K, and China Lead Foreign Land Investments In Agriculture and Finance

GRAIN’s online database is the foundation for much of what the world knows about foreign investments in land. Though the majority of “land grabs” are for agribusiness, other sectors include construction, finance, industry, real estate, and more. Map © Varun Mangla /Circle of Blue Interactive map of “Land Grabs” by country and by sector: The […]

National Security Assessment: Water Scarcity Disrupting U.S. and Three Continents

In a new report, the U.S. State Department finds a global confrontation between growing water demand and shrinking supplies, in addition to predictions for the next 30 years of water scarcity.

“Choke Point: China” Findings Cited in Congressional Hearing

Choke Point: China findings presented at Congressional hearing.

Update: China Completes Tunnel Under Yellow River for South-North Water Transfer Project

China is on target to begin transferring water from the Yangtze River Basin to Hebei, Shandong, and Tianjin by 2013.

Choke Point: China on Wilson Center’s Dialogue Program

On Wednesday evening, dialogue — an award-winning television and radio program that explores the world of ideas through weekly, half-hour conversations with renowned public figures, scholars, journalists, and authors — will feature "Choke Point: The World's Looming Water Crisis."

EIA Report: Global Energy Use To Grow 50 Percent by 2035 — Half of Increase from Fossil Fuels in China and India

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently published its annual report on global energy projections. Though renewable energy sources and nuclear power, along with unconventional fossil fuels, will phase out coal production over the next two decades, it will not be at the pace necessary to offset greenhouse gas emissions

China Turns Profit From Coal-to-liquid Fuels Production, May Expand Controversial Program

Though China suspended most of its coal-to-liquid fuels refineries in 2008 due to concerns for scarce water resources and high production costs, recent financial gains may lead it to reconsider its policy.

China to Cap Energy Use by 2015 in National Low-Carbon Plan

The energy target will be the highlight of a document to come later this year, as well as a cornerstone of China's efforts to curb soaring greenhouse gas emissions, which currently stand at a quarter of the global total. Cutting coal consumption will inevitably also cut water use, as coal is China's largest industrial user of water.

Australia Builds Desalination Plants and Pipelines to Bring Water to Mines

To feed water-hungry mining industries, similar plans are in the works to supply drought-ridden regions of Australia and China.

Flooding Tests Three Gorges Dam, Pollutes Songhua River in China

Chemical pollution is the latest calamity as heavy rains continue to blanket the country with floods.

China Looks to Increase Hydropower to Meet Clean Energy Goals

While the superpower announces ambitious sustainability goals, it faces droughts and intensive energy needs.

Drought in South China is Worst in Decades

Parts of southern China are being ravaged by a severe three-season drought. Millions of people lack adequate water supplies, and millions of acres of cropland are too dry to plant.

Chinese Farms Generate More Water Pollution than Factories

Study shows 2007 discharges were double previous estimates.

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Choke Point: China in Chinese

Newest Article

中国庞大的调水工程功效未卜 干旱的北方焦渴等待

当局希望新的西线工程通过审批,将水通向西部的能源储备地。

借助水权转换和高技术电站缓解中国北方能源与水资源的冲突

中国沿黄河开展雄心勃勃的节约用水和水权转换计划以应对迫在眉睫的水资源危机

中国之瓶颈:水匮乏与能源需求

愈演愈烈的具有全球意义的资源困境

Choke Point: China Produced In Collaboration With

Ball State

Students in Ball State University's immersive learning program contributed comprehensive multimedia reporting and design for major Circle of Blue projects, including Choke Point: U.S., Choke Point: China, and Great Lakes Climate.

Energy Foundation

The Energy Foundation, which provided major funding for the Choke Point series, is a partnership of major donors interested in solving the world's energy problems. Its mission is to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy through new technologies that are essential components of a clean energy future.

Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Global Threats Fund, which provided major funding for Choke Point: China II, has a mission to confront humanity-imperiling global threats by seeking solutions, strengthening alliances, and spurring actions needed to safeguard the future.

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