WATER WISE A British writer tells how this vital resource has shaped Chinese life and culture for centuries.
“There is a view in the West that they should perhaps be more like China and that there be more scientists and engineers in positions of power.”
TheWaterKingdom in Chinese culture and under this very enlightened scheme Nature had, I thought this is my chance to finally go,” he says.
“Looking back, it was an interesting time to be there (the year of Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour), but it was still tough to travel in China.”
Ball now has a deeper commitment to China: He and his wife adopted a Chinese baby in 2006. Mei Lan is now 11 and the elder of their two daughters. The book is, in fact, dedicated to her.
“Over the past 10 years, I have pretty much gone to China every year with my family. We are keen she has contact with her Chinese roots,” he says.
Ball left Nature in 2001 (although he still contributes to it) to focus on writing books, of which he has published around 20.
Philip Ball, author of The country’s major water-engineering solutions: the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (above) and Xiaolangdi Dam on the Yellow River (top).