Stalled projects and underperforming plants have hampered China’s desalination plans. The site of a seawater desalination plant that could provide up to one-third of the water consumed by Beijing’s households lies about 200 kilometers southeast of the parched Chinese capital. In 2014, China’s state news media reported that the facility, to be located on the shores of Bohai Bay, would be completed by 2019, contributing to the three million tons of fresh water per day of desalination capacity that China wants to have built by 2020. Since then, the planning of this facility has been touch and go: it’s been approved by the provincial development agency and listed as one of the major projects in China’s initiative to build a supercity around Beijing, but it’s still far from certain when the construction will begin. After an initial boom—from 2006 to 2010, China’s desalination capacity grew nearly 70 percent each […]