The report documents the threat to water resources. Among the report's findings are that the planned major expansion of coal mines, coal-fired electricity plants and coal-based chemical plants in northwest China will drain almost 10 billion cubic metres of water a year from water resources. This new demand for water is equal to one sixth of the yearly flow in the Yellow River. Tributaries of the Yellow River will run dry more often, and the Yellow itself will likely dry up more often. On top of this, coal operations will dump a great deal more pollution into the river, threatening drinking water for millions.
The report further found that the people who relay on the vulnerable ecoystem in China's northwest are going to find life more difficult: they will lose grazing land, their forests will be destroyed, wetlands lost, vegetation degraded, soils eroded and desertification will increase.
Greenpeace China is urging the government to look more closely at water demand and think again about the size and location of mines and coal plants. It also points out that relying more on renewable energy would protect water resources.