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Yellow River Basin

Page history last edited by Maya Rajasekharan 14 years, 10 months ago

Visit the Yellow River website


Half a century of intense development along parts of China’s Yellow River—for irrigation, power generation and flood control—has been a boon to the basin’s 189 million people. The price, however, has been steep.


Water shortages are so intense that the lower Yellow often dries up. The pattern, also linked to recurring drought, farm-based erosion and sedimentation, is particularly alarming since this is China’s second longest river and the basin is a key axis of the economy. Over the past decade or more, pollution has accelerated, but treating all wastewater to reduce pollution is currently beyond the financial means of public agencies and local people.


Since 2000, integrated basin management has become a priority to ensure, among other things, ‘environmental flow’—the presence of a sufficient volume of quality water to maintain natural habitats. The relationship between farming and water consumption is crucial for the future of the Yellow River basin. Although agriculture consumes more than 90 percent of runoff in the basin, water productivity is low. For the basin as a whole, food production per person—328 kg—is 18 percent less than the national average.


The Challenge Program on Water and Food will design practical ways to enhance water productivity and management and protect agro-ecosystems. It will also help reduce the threat posed by water deficits, low farm productivity and pollution and is an opportunity to build water-related research and management capacity of Chinese institutions.


Program priorities include: 

  • Improving scientific understanding of human and climatic influences on the hydrological cycle

  • Increasing irrigation water productivity

  • Alleviating rural poverty

  • Resolving water shortages through integrated water management including better allocation mechanisms

  • Protecting and restoring ecosystems through measures like soil conservation

  • improving environmental water flow, and reducing river pollution. 


Read Insights on water poverty and water productivity in the Yellow River Basin


The Integreated Database Information System [IDIS] Basin Kits provide baseline data layers (vector and grid) for the Yellow River Basin covering various domains such as climate, agriculture, soil, land use, topography, etc.


Team Members 

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