The Stanford Environmental & Water Studies Summer Program
proudly hosts their keynote seminar entitled Sustainable Development in China: Water, Energy and Food
by Professor James O. Leckie
, Faculty Director of Stanford Environmental & Water Studies Summer Program at Stanford University.
With the world’s largest population and rapidly growing economy, China has experienced rapid urbanization and dramatic resource utilization since its reform process began in the late 1970s. From 1978 to 2000, China’s gross domestic product averaged 9.5% growth per annum, compared with 2.5% for the developed countries, and 5% for other developing countries. The number of small towns increased from 2,176 to 20,312 (> 5,000), and the number of cities increased from 190 to 663 (> 100,000). In 1970 about 18% of the population were urbanized. By 2012 50% of the population was urbanized (about 650 M). Resource utilization increased dramatically during this period, especially the use of water and energy. Over exploitation and pollution of surface and ground water sources have led to scarcity and environmental degradation. Currently, the management of water resources in China is plagued by several problems: excessive fragmentation and lack of cooperation in the institutional framework, an incomplete legal system and weak law enforcement, lack of user participation and transparency, inefficiency in water use, unsustainable water allocations, and unclear and unenforceable water rights. Massive expansion of energy use has exacerbated the problem, and increasing desertification and depleted ground water sources complicates future prospects for domestic food production.
James O. Leckie
Faculty Director of Stanford Environmental & Water Studies Summer Program
C. L. Peck, Class of 1906, Professor of Environmental Engineering and Applied Earth Sciences
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
National Academy of Engineering (2005)