China's careless use of natural resources has already led to most of its fish stocks being depleted and it now looks as if the same fate could befall its water supply after a new study found that nearly two-thirds of China's underground water, and over a third of its surface water, were rated as unsuitable for direct human consumption in 2014.
The report was released on Thursday by China's environment ministry, which may even be understating the problem.
Recognizing that it is polluting itself out of existence, China has begun waging a "war on pollution" to reverse the damage caused by decades of environmental abuse in order to achieve high rates of economic growth.
In its annual environmental bulletin, the ministry found just 63.1 percent of the monitored sites were ranked at "Grade III" or above, the minimum level fit for human consumption. Grade 6, the highest, was found to apply to only 3 percent of the country's total reserves.
To combat the rapid decline, which has seen potable water decline by a stunning 17 percent over just two years, the government will ban water-polluting factories in industries such as oil refining and paper production but not until the end of 2016.
The slow reaction time is caused by China's obsession with economic growth, even as it destroys its own environment. Such destruction has caused it, in the case of fishing, to source virtually all of its fish from international waters and even resorting to stealing from trading partners in order to feed its citizens clean fish.