WATER has no great value in itself. It is it what it helps create that counts. And for every improvement in efficiency in water use, communities and companies get richer and consume less water when doing so. It is what economists call a virtuous circle.

This principle is behind a major development aid project that has been launched in northern China, by the World Bank, which is spending US$74 million in loans on a Water Conservation Project in this increasingly arid region.

A statement from the bank summarises the scheme's aims, ...

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