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  • [ August 29, 2011]

    Center for Water Research helps tackle national groundwater contamination

  • The State Environmental Protection Ministry recently launched its "National Survey of Groundwater Basic Environmental Status" project, in which the Center for Water Research at Peking University has become a major participant.

    Statistics show that in total, 18 percent  of China’s groundwater supply has been exploited, which currently makes up 65 percent of domestic water needs, 50 percent of industrial water consumption, and 33 percent of agricultural irrigation use in northern China. As the nation’s urbanization and industrialization process accelerates, groundwater in some regions has been seriously over-exploited and water levels are continuing to decline; in some areas, infiltration and leakage of urban sewage, solid waste, liquid industrial waste, fertilizer and pesticide have resulted in the deterioration of groundwater quality and prominent contamination problems.

    In response to the state council’s strong will to tackle this problem, the center will be responsible for laying down the "Guide to the Comprehensive Assessment of Groundwater Contamination Status" and "Guide to Groundwater Pollution Modeling Techniques,"providing technical training for pollution investigators, as well as offering virtual guidance to typical pollution areas.

    Since 2006, the Center for Water Research has been devoted to the research of groundwater resources and environments in the North China Plain. The North China Plain is one of the world's most over-exploited areas in groundwater, where the water tables decline at an annual rate of more than a meter in many areas. Serious over-exploitation has caused a series of environmental problems, including severe deterioration of groundwater quality and ground subsidence.

    Funded by the National Natural Science Foundation and China Geological Survey, the center is currently studying the reaction, migration and restoration mechanisms and principles of ground water contaminants using field trials method, and has developed a simulation model with independent intellectual property rights.

    The Tongzhou groundwater contamination trial field in Beijing suburb