...Liu Zhenxiang, aged 48, is a typical Beijing taxi driver. But most of his worries are not about fuel prices, traffic or fares – they are about north China’s crippling drought.
...The bureau had begun a campaign on March 26 encouraging the public to: “Put forward suggestions for conservation in the capital and prepare for the green Olympics.” A month later, Liu stopped off at the bureau and handed in his essay, “Drought in northern China: its causes and solutions”. The essay was later identified as one of the best proposals the bureau had received.
...Water storage is the most important part of Liu’s plan. He told me about his aspirations. “Water storage means creating thousands of ponds, marshes and wetlands spread out across the land. If we see the land as a person, then the rivers are blood vessels, and pools are what keep the blood circulating. Beijing is massively over-exploiting its groundwater. In the suburb of Shunyi, they have had to dig wells down to 70 metres before they see any water. If my water storage plan were put into action, we could stop these plummeting groundwater levels.”...