HangZhou: Water supply and shortage

An investigation into the reasons behind the shortage of water in Hangzhou and why the problem has become so severe

Three Subquestions:

  • What're the possible reasons for the decline of water sustainability in HangZhou?
  • Why does HangZhou Need water?
  • What's being done about the issue?

I've decided to look into these three questions, as it's important to understand the who, in terms of who's affected by the crisis, the what, referring to the future of the city, and the why in terms of why the city has declined in this area. I feel as though these questions are broad enough to leave enough room for open interpretation, but still phrase the knowledge I wish to seek in a specific enough way to provide informative and important answers.

Overview Sources

Hopefully with these three sources below, you begin to get a brief idea of what the water issue is all about in HangZhou. The descriptions note the most useful factors of the site and how your could possibly use it in the investigation. Begin the first step of the investigation by looking into these sources.

This source covers all three questions in a very brief manner. It's a quick read which is helpful to the very introduction of the investigation, with many statistics too. Although unsure of whether the statistics are reliable or not, when proceeding with the investigation, I'll obviously check the data.

Although this is a case study, and that they're typically listed in a more specific focus. This case study focused more on how there was an issue in the first place, and why solving it benefits the people of this region, which relates back to the sub question: Why does HangZhou Need water? It's quite a brief website, but worth taking a look at, especially as it mentions different organisations which I could possibly look into.


Government websites are very good sources for reliable information on the city. Here we can see useful statistics, implemented plans and just roughly get an idea of what the water issue is all about. Obviously the date of this page is a little outdated, published in 2006, causing the statistics to become irrelevant. But it's still interesting to look at how the city only a few years back has changed from now, and most of the information is still relevant anyways.

More detailed sources; Specific case studies?

For a variety of perspectives, it's a good idea to look into different examples across the city. The links below either provide a more in depth explanation which ultimately leads to answers for my three subject specific questions, or, case studies of things which occurred in HangZhou recently. From these links, think about how they're relevant to this topic and the three sub questions, they should be able to help you answer them.

This is a specific article which speaks of the plans for the future of HangZhou, in relation to what is being done to aid the water issue. The article is comes from a reliable source, with useful statistics, however it is a little outdated, having been written in 1996. However this could bring us into a further investigation into how the government has continuously dealt with the issue, i.e. how they followed through with their plans.

Relevant to what was mentioned above, this is a more recent case study which looks into actual action which occurred in HangZhou. The article was published a year ago and comes from a decent resource, with a good amount of detail it provides both useful information, overview and statistics on the event.

Probably the most in detailed source listed, this blogpost really shows a fully informed view on the issue. Of course as a blogpost, the reliability of the information is in doubt, however the statistics did match up to some of the previous websites, and doesn't seem to show bias, or bad purpose, so the information can be considered useful. The blogpost is not only a case study, but a full review of HangZhou in relation to water issues.


In order to gain a more professional voice, one which can be trusted as well informed. It's a good idea to look into companies who have set themselves up to aid/teach about this issue. Below is a brief analysis of Water@Leeds organised by Zhejiang University. Continue your investigation by asking them about any blank area which you are hazy on.

Although not an organisation directed towards the conservation of water itself in HangZhou. The university of Leeds held a conference in 2012 called "water quality" The information provided by this programme is professional and reliable enough to be considered as good as an organisation. It's proven reliable by their purpose of mere education. As stated by them, their intentions are

                "The goal of developing an international research community focused on                            identifying, developing and delivering the best solutions to international water                 quality problems"


So far all of your research has been pretty useful, but real numbers and real statistics make the problem more visual and more relevant to us. They really help your audience understand the grand scale of the issue. Find some interesting statistics and see how they can help your audience see things in a greater light. An example of a useful statistic is found below.

This is actually some data which I presented in this graph myself. It shows how HangZhou values its water compared to other cities around the world. As we know from our previous investigation, China is facing serious water scarcity issues, the main factor being the extremely rapid consumption rates. This set of data is relevant to our topic as it shows how the trend of cheaper water could be relevant to why people consume so much of it. With these real numbers at hand, we're shown the relationship between the two issues, and how we can use this to begin to solve the issue of water shortage.


As the one of the main factors of how a city runs is its authenticity, it's important to take a look at how various things within HangZhou vary from other cities. One of the best ways to do so is to look at and analyse maps of HangZhou. Compare relevant information found on these maps of HangZhou compared to other cities, and question why this might contribute to your understanding of why your issue occurs and how we could possibly solve it. The map below provides an example of how you could use maps to relate back to your topic, do so yourself.

From this map we can see that Hangzhou relies on one water source, The QianTang River, which provides the city with 80% of its water supply. If you take a look at San Fransisco, with four water sources, you can begin to see how the lack of diversity in the range of ways HangZhou collects its water, could possibly affect the issues relevant to water shortage. By noticing this, I was forced to look further into the reliability of the QianTang river. I found that the river is actually deteriorating in quality, and that HangZhou's lack of resilience and variety of water sources has caused the city to be faced with limited options. Not only comparing HangZhou to my international city, if you look at my Chinese city, actually just Northern Chinese cities in general, they rely heavily on groundwater supplies. 60% of Beijing's water is sourced from the ground, which begins to tell us that HangZhou could quite possibly be doing the same. Upon further investigation it's found that HangZhou does actually exploit its groundwater supplies too, similarly to my local Chinese City.


Please note that going through the following steps should force the participator to ask themselves more questions, and conducting their own further research. The questions below are some examples of the things which might become relevant upon completing this investigation plan.

  • View the sources which you find useful and consider the following:

What are the most important details found relevant to the HangZhou Water Issue?

What would people be most interested in hearing about?

How can you present this information?

  • Look at the three case studies/further reading and consider:

How is HangZhou's water issue different from other cities?

Why is this so?

  • View more data sets and maps, then try infer:

What're the differences between HangZhou and other countries?

What does this difference tell us about HangZhou?

  • Refer to the Water@Leeds report, or email them questions if still unable to answer any of these questions
  • Once complete with the above steps, you should be able to interpret the three subquestions into a simple, visual infographic.