Clean Water in China?

Last week AllSet Learning staff took a team-building trip to the mountains of Zhejiang in Tonglu County (浙江省桐庐县). It was a nice trip, and one of the things that struck me most about the natural beauty there was the lack of litter and crystal-clear water. Anyone who has traveled much in China knows that it’s a beautiful, beautiful country, but disgracefully covered in litter in so many otherwise breath-taking tourist destinations. Not so in Tonglu!


I was also surprised to learn that the locals there drink the water straight from the mountain streams without treating it at all. They don’t have “normal” plumbing, it’s all piped from the higher regions of the flowing mountain streams. I have to wonder: with so much of China so heinously polluted, could this water actually be safe to drink?


Anyone else want to weigh in with some facts or links?



John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Looks beautiful!

  2. Nice! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I remember hiking in Xinjiang and often thinking that there was no point in hiring a guide; we could have just followed the trail of plastic bottles and tissues. There are a lot of places out there that are pretty pristine though; you just need to get off the popular tourist trails.

  4. I once went to Lugu lake in Sichuan and the waters were crystal clear. Wish I could say the same about the rivers and lakes in the cities! Did you hear about that lake that turned blood red overnight?

  5. Link for my above comment

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