DEEP-LYING groundwater levels have gone from falling to rising in North China’s Hebei Province following a project against overexploitation in 2014, local water authority said yesterday.
An evaluation conducted by a third-party institution showed the average deep-lying groundwater level, meaning aquifers deeper than 1 km underground, rose by 0.46 meters in the project pilot area in 2015, a year with average annual precipitation, compared with a decline of 1.04 meters in 2014, according to an official with the provincial water department, citing figures released Tuesday at a key water-projects conference.
China’s northern region has long suffered from water shortages, leading to groundwater overexploitation, especially in Hebei, a major drinking-water supplier for neighboring Beijing.
In Hengshui City, an area suffering extreme water shortages in the province, the distance between groundwater level and the surface went from 20 meters in 1974 to over 120 meters in 2014. Decades of overuse have led to land subsidence, seawater intrusion and other ecological problems.
To fight the situation, Hebei launched a project to fight overexploitation in 2014, developing water-saving irrigation facilities, increasing water storage capacity and improving river and pond controls to boost surface water utilization. To date, a total of 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) has been poured into the project, according to the official.(Xinhua)