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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10625/46027

Title: Barriers to water markets in china's Heihe River Basin
Authors: Junlian Zhang
Keywords: GROUNDWATER
WATER USE RIGHTS (WUR) SYSTEM
WIDESPREAD DESERTIFICATION
WATER CONSERVATION AND REDISTRIBUTION
ZHANGYE CITY
WATER MARKETS
GANSU PROVINCE
IRRIGIATION
HEIHE RIVER
NORTHWEST CHINA
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: EEPSEA, IDRC Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia, Singapore, SG
Series/Report no.: EEPSEA research report series / IDRC. Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia; no. 2005-RR8
Abstract: This study assesses the water use rights (WUR) system in Zhangye City, Gansu Province, Northwest China. The research was carried out to see how well the system performs, in terms of its impact on water conservation and redistribution, and to see what barriers stand in the way of its successful implementation. Under the WUR system, every water user gets a water quota fixed by the government. WURs can be sold, temporarily or permanently. The system was set up because Zhangye City is severely short of water. It is located in one of the driest area in the world and is mainly watered by the Heihe River. Almost all the water from the Heihe is currently extracted for irrigation and this has caused widespread desertification. The study finds that the WUR system is encountering significant problems. Farmers ignore their groundwater quotas and this is causing the region’s aquifer to empty. The study also finds that water quota trades are still few and far between. There are many reasons for this failure, but a key issue is the financial insecurity of the region’s farmers. There are also problems with the system itself, which encourages a “use it or lose it” attitude toward water consumption. The study concludes that water use quotas and trading in China must go hand in hand with social and administrative improvements if it is to succeed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10625/46027
Project Number: 003591
Project Title: EEPSEA (Economy and Environment Program for South East Asia) - Phase III
Appears in Collections:IDRC Research Results / Résultats de recherches du CRDI
2000-2009 / Années 2000-2009

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