Water tables in some areas of northern China will continue to drop, by as much as 40 metres over the next quarter of a century, according to a recent study in Hebei Province and ecological problems in the region are now expected to escalate.
Annual water demand in Hebei, which supplies water to urban residents, industry and agriculture in the densely populated areas of Beijing and Tianjin, has risen sharply over recent years and currently exceeds the Province’s natural freshwater supply by 70% notes the report.
This deficit, say authors, is expected to widen by 2030, leading to a drop in the deep underground water table of, on average, 39.9 meters.
Dropping water tables across northern China have already caused ecological problems such as the drying-up of aquifers, land subsidence, and the formation of depression cones.
Environmental damage can conceivably cause damage to important infrastructure such as buildings, roadways, water lines and sewer systems according to Worldwatch Institute's Vital Signs 2006-2007 report.
Authors of the report are calling for better management of the region’s groundwater resources through a range of administrative, legal, and market fixes. Factories that consume excessive amounts of water, they say, should also be shut down.
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