Biodiversity / Food / Water

January 8, 2011


Japan Facing Water Shortages in Some Areas: 2010 Water Resources Report

Keywords: Government Water 

Image by Japan for Sustainability

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released on July 31, 2010, the 2010 issue of its report "Water Resources in Japan: For Sustainable Water Use." It indicates that, despite stable or decreasing trends in water demand in Japan, water supplies fell short of local requirements in some areas because of longer dry seasons and less winter snowfall. It also cited that ongoing climate change could lead to a reduction of water availability.

Over the past 20 years, water shortages in rivers have frequently occurred in the western part of Japan (including Shikoku) and in the Kanto and Tokai regions. In particular, people in the watershed area of the Yoshino River in Shikoku have been suffering episodes of severe water shortage. If the declining trends in rainfall become more pronounced, a severe water shortage as seen in the Yoshino River system will likely occur in other areas.

Water usage (the amount of water intake) in 2007 was about 83.1 billion cubic meters (m3), roughly the same amount the previous year. The amount of water actually supplied and received by water users (effective water amount) stood at 13.7 billion m3, a 0.6 percent decrease from the previous year. The average amount of water used per day per capita was 303 liters, down by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the "virtual water" in trade, the amount of water estimated to be used in producing imported agricultural and industrial products in Japan, was about 80 billion m3 in volume in 2005, which is almost equivalent to the annual water use in the country. With such a large consumption of virtual water in trade, the report highlighted the need for Japan's active commitment to global water issues and management.

The Water Resources in Japan report has been released every year from the Land and Water Bureau of MLIT since 1983. It compiles the current status of development, conservation, and utilization of water resources in the nation. It is released to coincide with "Water Day" on August 1, to enhance public awareness of the importance of water resources and its sustainable use.

Posted: 2011/01/08 06:00:15 AM