Urban and rural groundwater use in Zhengzhou, China: challenges in joint management
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Groundwater plays an important role in the total water supply of much of China, particularly in the north. It has contributed substantially to both agricultural growth and urban and industrial expansion. However, overexploitation and poor management have contributed to infamous groundwater depletion problems and less publicized groundwater quality deterioration. One of the key challenges for China will be how to make groundwater use sustainable while still meeting increased food needs as well as the industrial and domestic demands of a rapidly urbanizing society. Zhengzhou City, one of China's test cities for building a "water saving society" highlights both the difficulties and potential solutions to northern China's joint rural and urban groundwater challenges. Based on secondary data and a primary survey of groundwater management in the region, this report provides an overview of Zhengzhou's groundwater development and use as well as the ongoing institutional and policy reform processes within the water sector. The results highlight how a deepening of ongoing reforms, which simultaneously consider groundwater as an integral rural and urban issue and a fundamental economic and social asset, may improve groundwater outcomes, not only in Zhengzhou but in China, as the country's economy and demography continue to change.
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