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Thursday, December 02, 1999, updated at 15:26(GMT+8)
Culture World's Largest Underground Funnel in North China

The largest underground funnel area in the world is located in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province.

The total area of the underground funnel is 50,000 km. Ying Ruozhi, general engineer at No.2 Reconnaissance Institute of Hebei Province said that the underground funnel is caused by excessive use of groundwater. More than ten major underground funnels have been connected. The water level at the center drops every year.

A main underground funnel at Cangzhou, close to the port city of Tianjin, has exceeded 10,000 km. Another underground funnel in southeastern part of Hebei Province has expanded by 305 km each year and now is about 10,000 km long.

North China is one of the most arid regions in the country. The available water resources in the province of Hebei are no more than 17 billion cubic meters while the annual water consumption is 20 billion.

Ground sinking ranging from 200 to 1,000 millimeters affects an area of 70,000 meters in Hebei. About 200 ground splits were found in 35 counties. The deepest ground split had a visible depth of 10 meters.

Ying said that water resources in north China will not meet the demand of social and economic development in the next decade unless effective measures are taken immediately.

A project of diverting water from parts of southern China to the north is being planned by the central government. Relevant departments are making preparations to start the project as soon as possible. (Xinhua)

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