China Passes Guidelines for Tapping Underground Water in Arid NW Region

China passed guidelines for searching for underground water resources in the dry northwestern region on April 25, according to sources with the group for detecting northwest underground water resources based in this capital of Shaanxi Province.

The guidelines detailing plans for the next decade are aimed at providing scientific strategies for making use of underground water resources in the region, which covers some 3.3 million square kilometers and includes Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces, and the Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.

China began a project four years ago to tap underground water to ease the water shortage for 80 million people in the northwest region, and this has helped verify some one billion cu m of underground water reserves under the Loess Plateau and the Taklimakan Desert, equal to a combined holding capacity of ten large reservoirs.

Experts with the program developed a technique for sinking wells for karstic water located deep under the arid land. The project now helps pump out 660,000 cu m of high-quality water daily for the region.

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