It might surprise you to learn what most aggravates Fat Dragon, now ensconced in the northern capital, as he goes about his daily duties. It isn't the hoary old Chinese clich?s, like too much spitting or mad drivers who conspire to break every rule of the road.
The thing he hates most is watching the caretakers in his compound water the lawns. Unless you are counting a few snowfalls, it hasn't rained for just about the whole year in Beijing up until the time of writing this column in April. Yet there are the caretakers, each week, drenching the lawns with hoses thick enough to embarrass a firefighter.
When Fat Dragon complained to one of the workers recently that Beijing had little water, he nodded and replied: "Yes, but if we didn't do it like this, we would have to water the lawns every day."
The same kind of indolent soaking can be seen all across the city in the watering of parks and traffic islands.
As readers of this column will know, China wastes lots of things on a monstrous scale. Most notably, the banks destroy billions of dollars of the savings of ordinary Chinese each year because they don't have the skills to judge proper credit risks.
But few resources are so valuable, and so wasted, as water. For people who have grown up enjoying comfortable Western lifestyles, we can scarcely complain when ordinary Chinese start to have proper showers at home, and access to washing machines and even dishwashers.
The result, however, is a huge increase in consumption, without any countervailing rise in available water, let alone the discipline that comes with making people pay a decent price for the resource.
China's severe water problems, especially north of Shandong, is one of those many issues which fall under the all-encompassing rubric of – "oh, the top leaders know what is to be done, but they just can't do it."
But do they? China's top leaders still love solutions that befit their most popular chosen profession as engineers.
That's why the emphasis on tackling the water crisis is not about making people use the resource smarter, even though China is uniquely placed to run such campaigns.
Instead, China is pouring concrete at the problem, their favored modus operandi, by building the gargantuan south-north water transfer project. And you thought wasting money was their strongest suit. At a cost of around US$20bn, and probably a lot more if the value of the land it is taking up were properly valued, this is basically a superhighway – or super aqueduct if you like – to carry water from the tributaries of the Yangtze to the metropolises of Beijing and Tianjin.
Despite all the hoo-hah you will hear about "environmental impact statements" and the like, the truth is no one has any idea of the sustainability of this project, let alone its broader impact.
Even worse, if Beijing insists in drenching its green spaces with bucket loads of water, it won't work anyway.
And you thought banks were China's biggest problem!
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