Global Insider: China May Move Toward Water-Sharing Agreements

Global Insider: China May Move Toward Water-Sharing Agreements

China recently announced plans to invest $635 billion in water infrastructure over the next 10 years, prompting criticism about the effect of China’s water policy on its downstream neighbors. Scott Moore, a doctoral research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government researching sustainable energy development in China, explained the context and possible consequences of the plan in an email interview.

WPR: What is the context of China's recent announcement of plans to dramatically expand its hydropower capacity over the next few years?

Scott Moore: Three factors frame China's recent plans to expand its hydropower capacity. The first and most important is sheer demand: China needs to expand energy sources of all kinds in order to keep up with increases in demand as a result of rapid economic growth. Second, hydropower is particularly attractive because it advances two other policy objectives, namely energy security and de-carbonization in line with China's existing policies to reduce the contribution of fossil fuels to its overall energy mix. These objectives interact, but energy security is the more important of the two. Third, the recently announced hydropower projects are in relatively undeveloped parts of China, and they are calculated to advance regional economic development and poverty reduction goals by providing relatively cheap power for industrial development and urbanization. It's worth noting that many of these regions are also relatively restive and populated by ethnic minorities, so there is also an underlying social stability aspect to these regional development objectives.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review