Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Alison Coughlin makes this connection in Chengdu, China. This current event was reported in Remote Sensing and GIS for Hydrology and Water Resources in 2015, under the title, Development of Chengdu and sustainable utilization of the ancient Dujiangyan Water- Conservancy Project, by Xiaorong Huang. This is likely real news, based on another article by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization explaining the Dujiangyan Irrigation system, online.

The article focus on predicting the water resources demand for Chengdu, China. Chengdu has an increase in water demand because of rapid urbanization. To predict the water demand, including demands in agriculture, population increase, industry and urban life, the Policy Dialogue Model (PODIUM) was used. This directly relates to water resources engineering with a focus in water resources planning and management. It is important to know that this is happening all over the world. Rapid population growth causes many environmental issues, including an increase of water demand. To meet the needs of Chengdu the Dujiangyan irrigation project will be switching from agricultural to urban water use and the Min River demand will be increased for urban water supply. Figure 1 illustrates the water supply volumes in 2007, and predictions for 2020 and 2030. I think the article could have discussed more how PODIUM was used to make these predictions.

Figure 1 A bar graph illustrating the water supply volume for the year 2007 and predictions for 2020 and 2030 for Chengdu, China.

Figure 1 A bar graph illustrating the water supply volume for the year 2007 and predictions for 2020 and 2030 for Chengdu, China.

According to the news article, “Water resources demand prediction includes three parts: the prediction of economic and social development, economic and social water demand and ecologic environment water demand.” Water demand affects Chengdu economically, environmentally, and socially because if there is not enough water the city will not thrive. The main reason Chengdu grew so rapidly is because of their rivers and high water supply. If they do not have an adequate water supply to meet the growing needs of the people of Chengdu, many people will leave. If people leave, the economy will decrease. Because of this, population increase and social change is taken into consideration when predicting the water demand. To predict the water demand, they also have to predict the economic and social development of Chengdu. Since Min River is Chengdu’s main water source right now and for future water demands, the water quality has to meet the environmental requirements. The water demand project will focus on keeping the Min River area environmentally clean. I discovered that population growth all over the world has a great impact on water demand. An article by UN Water, states between 2009 and 2050, the population of the world will increase by 2.3 billion. The urban areas of less developed regions will grow, meaning more people will not have access to adequate drinking water (Water, 2014). The cause-effect between water demand and impact to society occurs when rapid urbanization takes place, thus increasing water demand, subjecting a city to re-plan and design an ancient water system.


Water and Urbanization in The United Nations Inter-Agency Mechanism on All Freshwater Related Issues, Including Sanitation, Oct. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.unwater.org/topics/water-and-urbanization/en/