The groundwater situation in many parts of China is
deteriorating due to excessive exploitation and increasing
pollution, a senior hydrogeologist warned yesterday.
More than 79 billion cubic meters of fresh groundwater are
tapped annually in northern China, accounting for 51.5 percent of
the total exploitable groundwater resources, Zhang Zonghu, an
academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at the 34th
Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists
At the same time, 26.7 billion cubic meters of groundwater is
tapped in the south each year, accounting for only 13.2 percent of
the exploitable reserves, he said.
Based on developments in the past decade, the groundwater
situation will remain stable in the south, where rainfall is ample,
but will become worse in the north, Zhang said.
As a result, many places have suffered from environmental damage
such as ground settling and depression, salt-water intrusion in
some coastal regions, and desertification in the hinterland, Zhang
To reverse the situation, China has brought the study of
groundwater into its national economic development plan, the
Groundwater in most parts of the Pearl and Yangtze river deltas
has been contaminated, said Yin Yueping, a researcher with the
China Geological Survey (CGS) under the Ministry of Land and
Yin, director of the CGS Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology
Department, said China's groundwater management model is
inadequate, with a poor supervision system and outdated
"The nation's groundwater management has lagged behind the world
for years," he said.
Groundwater is any water found below the land surface. It exists
almost everywhere underground, for example in the space between
particles of rock and soil or in crevices and cracks in rock.
More than 240 scientists from 56 countries attended the five-day
event, which "is an important forum for Chinese researchers to
learn groundwater management from other countries," said Yin, who
is also the secretary-general of the organizing committee.
Co-sponsored by the MLR and the IAH, the congress will promote
the survey, assessment, utilization, protection and management of
groundwater in China, and its role in sustainable social economic
development, Yin said.
(China Daily October 10, 2006)