An escalating confrontation over resources with global implications.
China Water Energy Yellow River Transport Tunnel

By Keith Schneider
Circle of Blue
BAOTOU, Inner Photo © Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue
When these two tunnels beneath the Yellow River are completed by mid-decade, more than 35 million cubic meters (9 billion gallons) of water a day will be transported from southern China to thirsty cities in the north. Click image to enlarge

Mongolia—By any measure, conventional and otherwise, China’s tireless advance to international economic prominence has been nothing less than astonishing.
Over the last decade alone, 70 million new jobs emerged from an economy that this year, according to the World Bank and other authorities, generated the world’s largest markets for cars, steel, cement, glass, housing, energy, power plants, wind turbines, solar panels, highways, high-speed rail systems, airports, and other basic supplies and civic equipment to support a modern economy.
Yet, like a tectonic fault line, underlying China’s new standing in the world is an increasingly fierce competition between energy and water that threatens to upend China’s progress. Simply put, according to Chinese authorities and government reports, China’s demand for energy, particularly for coal, is outpacing its freshwater supply.