Optimising the carrying capacity of water resources for healthy regional water balance under global changes

Water management among China’s top 10 science problems

The newly concluded annual meeting of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) released the latest list of China’s top 10 science problems and top 10 engineering challenges for 2020.  Water management, for the first time ever, became one of the top 10 science problems.

The annual CAST list of China’s top 10 science problems and top 10 engineering challenges are two influential lists started by the Association in 2018 with growing impacts on research and policies. The topics are crowd-sourced in the country among the public, and short-listed based on public voting. The two final lists are produced by an academic committee composed of China’s top scientists and engineers.

“Although water is a renewable resource, its capacity to support social-economic development is limited. The sustainability of social-economic development therefore needs to take into consideration constraints from water availability.” The team led by Prof. Jianyun Zhang said in their report for nominating the topic.

Water and its services are crucial to nature, society and economy. Water security is one of the most challenging topics for the world under profound changes such as global warming. China faces the same or possibly even greater challenges given its meteorological, geographic and social-economic characteristics. Therefore capping regional water demand and maintaining regional water balance is one of the top priorities for quality development and sustainability.

CAST top 10 science problems of China 2020 (unofficial translation)

  • What is the ecological mechanism behind the spread of the coronavirus?
  • How to interpret the mysteries of the universe through the gravitational wave?
  • How to understand the evolution and circulation of earth materials?
  • What does the fifth generation nuclear power system look like?
  • What are the scientific principles behind non-traditional energy field assisted production?
  • How could digital infrastructures drive autonomous vehicles and progress of transportation?
  • How could traditional herbal medicine contribute to human immunity?
  • What is the biological basis of apomictic reproduction of plants?
  • How to optimise the carrying capacity of water resources for healthy regional water balance under global changes?
  • How to establish the theoretical and technical basis for digital twin and pilot it?
Water diversion channel of the Great South-to-North Water Diversion

Feature image

Water diversion channel of the Great South-to-North Water Diversion

Taken on 2 October 2011 around Baoding, Hebei Province.

Photo credit: Stuttgartgoal on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0