JAPAN HAS RULED OUT STARTING any new dams on the country's seven major river systems due to reduced demand for water.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport plans to revise the Water Resources Development Basic Plan this fiscal year to correct an overestimation in projected water demand.

All 14 dams currently under construction, including the long-disputed Yanba dam on the Tonegawa river system in Gunma Prefecture, and Gifu Prefecture’s Tokuyama dam on the Kisogawa river system will not be affected by the revisions and will proceed as planned.

Total water demand in Japan peaked at 89.4Bm³ in 1991 and 1992. It slid to 87Bm³ in fiscal 2000. Demand for water for agricultural use has remained almost flat, while that for industrial use has been declining due to water recycling efforts at factories. Household demand for water has remained largely unchanged since the early 1990s.