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MARSHLAND| 黄河:现代中国水资源问题

 

*本文首发于《中外对话》,作者大卫•佩兹,翻译:子明。《微思客》经授权转载,如需转载,请联系作者。图片来源:https://www.flickr.com/photos/teruru/5769671378/。

黄河:现代中国水资源问题

大卫•佩兹

在1992年那个酷热干燥的八月,河北省白芟村和河南省盘阳村的村民发生了冲突。双方隔着漳河对骂并互相投掷爆炸物——漳河是灌溉系统红旗渠的源头,也是河北河南两省的边界。

事发前一天晚上,70名白芟村村民涉入漳河修筑拦河坝,要把漳河水引到他们的农田里。盘阳村村民听说此事立即纠结队伍把筑坝者赶走。两天后,白芟村村民穿过漳河进入河南地界,并用爆破的方式阻塞了一条向盘阳村农田引水的水渠。

围绕水资源的争夺无论在中国还是世界其他地方都不是什么新鲜事。但在红旗渠发生的这些争斗有着独特的历史和文化背景。气候、地理和社会因素的共同作用,推动20世纪90年代华北平原水资源冲突不断升级。

20世纪60年代早期红旗渠建成之初,水量十分丰富。红旗渠是大跃进时期水利工程样板项目之一,并被政府视为大型地表水利项目的典范。然而,20世纪80年代之后,上游取水灌溉活动和当地工业活动大大加剧了下游地区的水资源争夺。

村子间的争夺是华北平原水资源紧张的早期预兆。后毛泽东时代的改革措施增加了水资源消费和水污染,而中国三十年的经济大发展更是将华北平原推到了生态极限的边缘。政府不得不采取大规模水域间调水等激进措施,以维持表面上的生态平衡。

年可用水量从1956年的419亿立方米下降到2000年的325亿立方米。年人均可用水量从1952年的735立方米下降到2009年的302立方米,而水资源消费却急剧增长。20世纪80年代以来,家庭水资源消费量上涨了150%,到世纪之交时中国已经面临着严重的地区水资源困境。

随着工业发展、城市扩张以及农业生产强度的飞速提高,如何在黄河河谷地区和整个华北平原有效地分配已经不足的水资源成为了关键问题。

从经济角度考虑,政府可以通过水资源分配维持各行业的发展,但数据也表明,新世纪之初农村地区日益频繁的骚乱源自对净水分配方案的不满,给社会稳定投上一层阴影。
只有从历史的角度,我们才可以透彻理解中国所面临的水资源挑战。华北平原此前的文化选择和客观现实仍决定着当前和未来的局势。即便是在毛泽东时代(1949-1978),尽管当局曾试图大规模开发华北平原水资源(即在很多人看来的“与天斗”),水利开发的方式和目标仍是由几个世纪之前的模式所决定。

华北平原一直是中国生态最脆弱的地区。与南方相比,这里的降水较少,并且主要集中在夏季的几个月份。在这种气候条件下,当地群众深受大规模洪水和饥荒之害。黄河自其中游开始便卷携着大量淤泥,塑造了华北平原地区的人居生态。华北平原还是中国维系国家和王朝运转的重要粮食产区,全国将近一半的小麦以及三分之一的玉米和棉花都产自这里。全国大约四分之一的人口居住在华北平原。

长期以来,国家一直都在试图管理华北平原生态,连续数个政权都投入了大量资源用于防控洪灾。中国的封建王朝也曾试图通过建立官方粮仓并在饥年放粮赈灾的方式缓解水资源缺乏造成的经济混乱。时至今日,保障粮食安全仍然是中国领导人关注的一个根本问题。

1949年之后,中国领导人在苏联式的大规模、高科技、中央控制的资本密集型项目与毛泽东偏爱的强调小规模、本土经验和管理、大规模动员和自力更生的农业生产方式之间不断变换,对中国的水资源造成了特殊的影响。

毛泽东激进的水利开发措施有利有弊:大规模动员创造了标准的灌溉系统,但较差的排水系统和对水资源储备的过度开发也破坏了土壤的肥力。虽然发展后的灌溉系统的确提高了农业生产力,并有助于满足不断扩大的人口对粮食的需求,但长期的结果却是对水资源的过度开采。

如今,中国飞速的经济发展大大提高了对能源和水资源的需求。工业发展、城市化和农业生产结构的改变都加大了对水资源的需求,而中国的政治领导人也深知,水资源的枯竭和水质的恶化都有可能造成社会不安定。在某些前苏联国家,环境运动引发了更大范围的改革运动。中国要做出艰难的权衡——如何才能向乡村地区提供足够的水资源以保证农业生产和社会稳定,同时还要向工业部门提供足够的水资源以维持经济增长。

几个世纪前的做法决定了今天中国的水资源管理措施。例如,此前历代对黄河流域沟渠的持续投入给中国的水利规划者们留下了一个难题。一方面,大规模工程——例如宏大的南水北调项目——对于目前当政的共产党领导人来说仍然具有强大的吸引力。另一方面,水资源分配和污染都催生了对水利工程的反思,并推动了向需求管理的转变。明显不同于以往的一点在于,今天的中国已经融入全球贸易网络,这使中国的资源挑战成为全世界共同面临的问题。

The Yellow River:

A history of China’s water crisis

David A. Pietz

Historian David Pietz argues China’s current water problems are deeply rooted in its past

During the hot, dry month of August 1992 the farmers of Baishan village in Hebei province and Panyang village in Henan came to blows. Residents from each village hurled insults and rudimentary explosives at the other across the Zhang River – the river that feeds the Red Flag Canal Irrigation System and forms the border between the two provinces.

The emotions of that afternoon were fuelled by events of the previous night when 70 Baishan villagers had waded into the river to build a barrage to divert water to their fields. Upon hearing of the treachery, Panyang villagers assembled to drive the dam-builders away.

Two days later, Baishan villagers crossed the river to the Henan side and dynamited an irrigation canal that watered Panyang’s fields.

Struggles over water are not new in China or around the world. But these struggles have their own unique historical and cultural contexts. Climate, geography, and social forces all combined to escalate tensions over water resources on the North China Plain during the 1990s.

In the early 1960s when the Red Flag Canal was constructed water was plentiful. The canal was a showpiece of Chinese hydraulic engineering that was begun during the Great Leap Forward, and celebrated as an exemplar of massive surface water irrigation development. But after the 1980s, upstream withdrawals for irrigation and local industry dramatically expanded competition for water downstream.

Growing water stress

The story of inter-village dispute was an early indicator of water stresses on the North China Plain. Post-Mao reforms increased both consumption and pollution of water, and China’s 30-year boom brought the North China Plain close to its limits. Dramatic solutions, such as large-scale inter-basin water transfers, were invoked to sustain a semblance of ecological balance.

Total available water resources declined from 41.9 billion m3/year in 1956 to 32.5 billion m3/year in 2000. Per capita water availability plunged from 735 m3/year in 1952 to 302 m3/year in 2009 while overall consumption skyrocketed. Household consumption has increased by 150% since 1980 and, by the turn of the millennium China was experiencing a significant regional water dilemma.

As industrial growth, urban expansion, and intensification of agriculture continued at breakneck speed, efficient allocation of already scarce water resources in the Yellow River valley and the entire North China Plain became a critical issue.

On the economic front, allocating water to sustain growth in all sectors was one policy option, but data also suggested that increasing occurrences of rural unrest in the early 2000s were fuelled by frustrations over supplies of clear water, raising concerns about social stability.

China’s water challenges can only be fully understood from a historical perspective. Past cultural choices and physical realities of the North China Plain continue to shape the present and the future. Even in the Maoist period (1949-1978), when the regime attempted unprecedented development of water resources on the North China Plain in what looked to many like a “war on nature,” developmental means and goals were shaped by patterns that dated back centuries.

The North China Plain has long been among China’s most ecologically vulnerable areas. The region receives much less rainfall than the south, and what rain it receives is concentrated in the summer months. This climate has generated a series of large-scale floods and famines that have devastated local communities.

The Yellow River that carries massive amounts of silt from its middle reaches has shaped the human ecology of the North China Plain. The region has also long been one of the most critical agricultural regions in sustaining state and empire as it produces half of China’s wheat, and one-third each of its maize and cotton. Nearly one-quarter of China’s population resides on the North China Plain.

Difficult legacies

State efforts to manage the ecology of the North China Plain have a long history, and many different eras of Chinese rulers have spent massive resources on preventing or controlling floods. The state in imperial China also sought to mitigate economic dislocation during periods of famine by setting up state granaries from which officials released grain during periods of privation to dampen the inflationary effects of shortage. Indeed, guaranteeing food security remains a fundamental concern of China’s current leaders.

After 1949, China’s leaders vacillated between Soviet-style grand projects and smaller scale Maoist schemes. The former were typified by large-scale, technological, centrally-controlled and capital-intensive projects, while the latter focused on local knowledge and management, mass mobilisation, and self-reliance, with unique consequences for China’s water resources.

Mao’s aggressive water development had mixed results: mass mobilisation generated substandard irrigation system, damaged soil fertility through poor drainage and over exploited water reserves. The expanded irrigation did raise agricultural production, which helped to feed a growing population, but the longer term outcome was over exploitation of water supplies.

Today, China’s rapid economic development has generated an enormous demand for energy and water. Industrial development, urbanisation, and structural changes in agriculture have all increased demands for water. Political leaders are well aware that depleted and spoiled supplies have the potential to create social instability, and that in some former Soviet states, environmental movements fed into broader reform movements.

China faces a difficult balancing act – how to allocate enough water to rural areas to ensure agricultural productivity and social stability, while providing enough to industry to maintain economic growth.

Water management today has been shaped by practices extending back centuries. For example, continuous investment in a massive system of dykes along the Yellow River has left China’s water planners with a difficult legacy.

On the one hand, large-scale engineering – as in the massive South-to-North Water Diversion project– remains powerfully attractive to contemporary Party leaders. On the other hand, both water allocation and pollution have impelled a re-examination of engineering in favour of demand management.

What is clearly different today is China’s integration into global trade networks, which make China’s resource challenges a global concern.

David Pietz is author of The Yellow River: The Problem of Water in Modern China (Harvard, 2015).

作者:大卫•佩兹,《黄河:现代中国水资源问题》(Harvard, 2015)一书作者编辑:朱小朱,Marshland版块编辑

校对:宋韬

 

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