Water-starved Beijing residents dig wells outside their homesBy Dayu Zhang and Zoe Li, CNNUpdated 0654 GMT (1354 HKT) August 22, 2014No water? Dig wells 5 photosNo water? Dig wells – "Who would dig up wells if there's enough water? There's just no water." Beijing residents take matters into their own hands and find groundwater near their homes.Hide Caption 1 of 5No water? Dig wells 5 photosNo water? Dig wells – The Shuimo Community in Beijing's Haidian District has grown too fast and freshwater supplies can't keep up with the expansion.Hide Caption 2 of 5No water? Dig wells 5 photosNo water? Dig wells – Graffiti on a wall, advertising well-digging services. A well can cost up to $6,500, according to residents.Hide Caption 3 of 5No water? Dig wells 5 photosNo water? Dig wells – Water authorities say new residents of the community have built homes illegally over public water pipelines.Hide Caption 4 of 5No water? Dig wells 5 photosNo water? Dig wells – Researchers say China is facing a freshwater crisis, with population growth, pollution, and industrial development diminishing supplies.Hide Caption 5 of 5Story highlightsResidents in Beijing sick of water shortages, start digging wellsWater authorities: Fixing the shortages is complicatedFreshwater supply increasingly a problem in ChinaAt first glance, it seems like a lot of roadside construction is taking place in this residential neighborhood west of Beijing's Tsinghua University.But a closer look reveals out-of-place pipes, mysterious pools of water and long hoses that run along the walls of nearby homes. The "construction workers" aren't paid laborers either -- they're local residents who have simply walked out of their homes and started hacking into the road.Why?For water. They lift tiles off the pavements and dig until they hit ground water. Just WatchedPollution an economic concern in ChinareplayMore Videos ...Pollution an economic concern in China 03:27PLAY VIDEO"Who would dig up wells if there's enough water? There's just no water," said one resident who would only give his surname, Yin. His family had been suffering from water shortages on and off for months until they decided to take matters into their own hands.Growing demandThe Shuimo Community in Haidian district has grown rapidly and authorities have been unable to cope with the growing demand for water. "We started receiving complaints from residents about water shortages since the end of July," said Liu Zhongmin, head of the Water Resources Office in the Department of Water Affairs of Haidian District. "We're aware of local residents digging wells to get water. These are illegal constructions and should be demolished."But any plans to fix the water supply problem have been delayed. "We don't plan to do anything at this point as it'll spark tensions between us and residents," said Liu.He explained that any work on the pipelines in the neighborhood would not be straightforward. The community has grown from 1,000 residents to more than 8,000 in recent years, and new residents have occupied roads where pipelines are buried under their houses, according to Liu.For the near future, residents see only one way out of the situation."Everybody knows we're not allowed to dig wells here but what else can we do? Who can solve the problem?" asks Yin. He adds that a well costs as much as RMB 40,000 (about $6,500) to complete.Freshwater supplies in China have been increasingly strained in recent years. A growing population, industrial development and widespread pollution pushes the lack of freshwater to crisis levels, according to China Water Risk. 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