(TibetanReview.net, Jul30, 2015) – Despite expressing concern that glaciers have been shrinking at unprecedented rates in recent decades, the government of Chinese ruled Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is to establish a 40 billion yuan (US$6.44 billion) natural drinking water industry in the next three to five years.
Speaking at an unspecified forum, Losang Jamcan, chairman of the regional government, said developing the natural drinking water industry in the TAR should not come at the cost of the region’s natural environment, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jul 29. He had made similar remarks about mining operations in the region before. But pollution and other types of environmental devastation resulting from them continue to provoke large scale Tibetan protests and draw brutal Chinese repression.
The report said production of natural drinking water in the region had risen 60 percent in 2014 to 153,000 tonnes and authorities were hoping it will grow 30 times in the next three to five years, with production value reaching 40 billion yuan.
The report put the water resources in the TAR, “the most abundant in China”, at 439.4 billion cubic meters, 60 times the PRC’s per capita level. Its clean, uncontaminated water is also considered among the world’s best, the report added.
The report cited Xiang Tongliang, deputy director of Tibet’s water resources bureau, as saying authorities had already evaluated the quality of water at 27 water sources in the region and found 190 million cubic meters of surface drinking water, with around 22 percent of them being exploitable.