The Yellow River basin is a key food production centre of global importance facing rapidly growing water scarcity. Water availability for agriculture in the basin is threatened by rapid growth in the demand for industrial and urban water, the need to flush sediment from the river's lower reaches, environmental demands and growing water pollution. Climate change is already evident in the basin with long-term declines in river runoff, higher temperatures, and increasing frequency and intensity of drought. The Chinese government has exhausted most options for improving water supply. The challenge will be to switch to improved water demand management, which is hampered by existing governance structures, and lack of integrated agriculture and water resource policies.
Ringler, C.; Ximing Cai; Jinxia Wang; Akhter Ahmed; Yunpeng Xue; Zongxue Xu; Yang, E.; Zhao Jianshi; Tingju Zhu; Lei Cheng; Fu Yongfeng; Fu Xinfeng; Gu Xiaowei; Liangzhi You. Yellow River basin: living with scarcity. Water International (2010) 35 (5) 681-701. [Special Issue: Water, Food and Poverty in River Basins, Part 1; DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2010.510793]