Coal expansion imperils water resources in China's northwest

A new report released by Greenpeace claims that China's insatiable demand for coal could imperil fragile water resources in the country's vast north-western hinterland.

According to the Greenpeace report plans for the large-scale expansion of coal mining and the coal industry in China's northwestern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Ningxia could result in a net loss of 10 billion cubic metres in water resources each year, equivalent to a sixth of the annual flow of the Yellow River.

The loss of water will have a ruinous effect upon the delicate steppe ecosystems of the region, including grazing land, forests and wetlands, and severely exacerbate desertification in the province of Inner Mongolia.

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