Significant Structural Change of Water

The ratio of water use in the agricultural sector (including rural water supply) to total water use dropped from 97.1% in 1949 to 74.1% in 2000, while that of industrial and urban water supply increased from 2.3 to 20.7% and from 0.6 to 5.2%, respectively. The portion used for irrigation in the agricultural sector went from 91% in 1980 to 85% in 2000. In this 20-year period, irrigated land increased to 6.7 million ha (a one-eighth increase compared to the pre-1980 period). However, water use for irrigation remained at about 350 billion m3 each year, which means that during this period it remained nearly unchanged. Furthermore, water use in the industrial sector has remained at about 110 billion m3 since 1997. Figure 1 shows the structural change of water use in China.

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