On the state map of China disappeared about 28,000 rivers, and environmental scientists argue that these losses are associated with the rapid — "at any cost" — the economic growth of the country.
Work floating on a boat on the lake Chaou filled with blue-green algae. Access to drinking water is a serious problem for a large part of China's territory
The official report of the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, released last week on the basis of the first-ever census of the nation's water resources, says that the number of rivers with a catchment area of at least 100 square kilometers, has decreased by half compared with the middle of the last century.
The official study 800 thousand surveyors, indicates that at the end of 2011, China had 22,909 rivers with a catchment area of at least 100 square kilometers. And it is two times less than the declared before the state estimates, is more than 50 thousand rivers.
The sharp decline in the number of rivers confirms fears that the rapid economic development of China has caused considerable loss of water and soil in the country.
The state of rivers and other water resources in China has risen on the agenda after the authorities were forced to deal with the "cancer villages" — regions with contaminated water so that its use began to lead to a catastrophic increase in the number of various diseases such as cancer of the stomach.
But Huang He, deputy director of the group that conducted the census, said the difference in numbers is mainly due to inaccurate estimates in the past, as well as climate change and loss of water and soil, according to the newspaper «South China Morning Post».
Huang said that many of the figures published in the new study were not previously known. "For example, we tend to think that China has at its disposal 8,700 reservoirs, but the census shows that this number has now reached 98,002."
A recent study on the holding of which took three years, is the first detailed study of the number of water channels, reservoirs and irrigation areas of China.
It also shows that China, despite the loss of its rivers are still experiencing significant problems with flooding in many parts of the country.
More than 66 percent of the population and 90 percent of all cities in the country are located in regions subject to threats of flooding.
In last year's flood in Beijing killed 70 people and caused damage to the 1.6 million residents.
In a 2006 interview, Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Social and environmental issues and expert on water issues, said that China is "faced with a water crisis, which includes a water shortage, pollution and reduced water quality."
He added: "400 out of 600 cities in China have to deal with water shortages of varying degrees of severity, including 30 of the 32 largest metropolitan areas. In the north of the country due to excessive drying of surface water development were underground layers. The situation becomes critical. "