Water was scarce.
But the Chinese authorities couldn’t wait to put the finishing touches on a new urban development project.
The dam project was to bring in more than half a billion cubic metres of water per day, a sum equal to the total output of three million homes, according to the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Land Reforms.
The reservoir would be built atop a massive dam on the Yellow River, with the water being piped through to Shanghai and other major cities.
In the end, however, China’s dams didn’t live up to expectations.
The dam never took effect and the dam was never built.
In the decades that followed, water shortages have been a recurring theme in China’s history.
In 2015, a report by the World Bank concluded that the country’s dams have “suffered severe human and environmental impacts”, with many cities “crippled by the loss of habitat, polluted water, poor hygiene and poor infrastructure”.
“Water scarcity is an issue that is deeply rooted in Chinese society,” says a report published in 2016 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
It is also an issue seen across the world.
In the UK, many people fear that the drought could cause a water crisis that could affect the national economy.
“We can’t rely on our existing infrastructure and we have to create a new infrastructure,” said Peter Mackey, director of the Climate Action Trust.
“We need to build an economy that can feed itself and provide jobs to the people of the UK.”
But it is not just the Chinese that are worried.
In Australia, water scarcity is a major problem as a result of drought and climate change, according the National Water Council.
The NSW government is trying to find a way to deal with the crisis.
But while China is trying new and innovative ways to meet its water needs, it is also trying to protect its environment.
On a global level, climate change is expected to make the world more vulnerable to drought, which could lead to increased conflicts, more frequent and severe storms, and increased outbreaks of disease, according an international study.
“It’s an existential threat to the world,” said Jennifer Dzurak, senior campaigner at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is also worried about a global water crisis, predicting that “as a result, water availability will be reduced in more countries, which will mean more water conflicts.”
According to the UNEP, water is an essential tool for ensuring food security and the well-being of people and the environment.
“The future will be more vulnerable if we do not get the right infrastructure in place,” Dzorak said.
But Dzorsak also stressed that China’s dam projects will be the best solution.
China has already taken a lead role in water conservation and climate protection, having signed a number of agreements with developing countries to cut carbon emissions.
The country has also set up its own Water Resources Development Authority to oversee its projects.
Ahead of the dam project, China is already investing heavily in water-saving technologies.
According the UNDP, China will spend $2.5 billion on water conservation by 2030, and more than $20 billion in the coming years.
While Beijing is aiming to have its dams completed by 2023, some experts believe it could be more ambitious.
They say China’s plans to invest $10 billion in water efficiency and $2 billion in building new reservoirs in the next five years could be enough to meet the countrys demand.