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Tensions over water are rising in Asia – and not only because of conflicting maritime claims.The country enjoys unmatched riparian dominance, with 110 transnational rivers and lakes flowing into 18 downstream countries.China has also built six mega-dams on the Mekong River, which flows into Southeast Asia, where the downstream impact is already visible. Yet, instead of curbing its dam-building, China is hard at work building several more Mekong dams.Likewise, water supplies in largely arid Central Asia are coming under further pressure as China appropriates a growing volume of water from the Illy River. China's energy, manufacturing, and agricultural activities in sprawling Xinjiang are having an even greater impact, as they contaminate the waters of the region's transnational rivers with hazardous chemicals and fertilizers, just as China has done to the rivers in its Han heartland.Of course, China is not the only country stoking conflict over water. Asia can build a harmonious, rules-based water management system.
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