The United Nations (U.N.) categorizes China as a water-vulnerable country, along with the United States, Japan, and many European countries (UNDDSMS, 1996). North China, specifically the Hai, Huai, and Yellow rivers, covers 1.44 million km2 (15%) of China's territory and accounts for 39.4% of total cultivated land, 34.7% of the population, and 32.4% the country's GDP. The per capita water availability for the three basins is less than 500 m3 (Liu Chang Ming and Chen Zhi
Kai, 2001) and the percentage of withdrawal is much higher (>50%). China must maintain low levels of water use to support the process of sustainable development. China cannot reach the same level of per capita water use as the United States, Japan, and other European countries in view of its huge population and its extremely uneven areal distribution of water resources.
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