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Special wells proliferate to monitor groundwater

Li Hongyang
Updated: Jan 24,2019 8:55 AM     China Daily

To better conserve groundwater resources, more professional monitoring wells that can test water quality have been set up across wider areas of China, the China Geological Survey, an institute under the Ministry of Natural Resources, said at its annual conference on Jan 23.

By the end of last year, the number of monitoring wells nationwide had risen to more than 10,100 compared with 5,100 in 2017. And 93 testing indexes for groundwater have been added to monitoring results, according to the CGS.

Li Wenpeng, senior engineer at the CGS, said that previously they had often used local residents’ monitoring tools, but now their own tools are more professional and evenly distributed across the country.

“About 3.5 million square kilometers in 31 provinces, including major plains, basins and cities, are covered with standardized wells. It’s like equipping groundwater spots with eyes, which helps us make decisions regarding conservation,” he said.

The latest data from the Ministry of Water Resources shows that in 2017, the country’s groundwater supply was 101.7 billion cubic meters, 16.8 percent of the total water supply.

However, an environmental report released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in May said that more than 60 percent of the groundwater was graded as poor quality in 2017.

Li said that more indexes can be provided by the monitoring system in time to help with evaluation and protection of groundwater quality.

“We have arranged specific wells for different layers to make the monitoring clear and results more accurate. Before, we only tested about 20 water indexes, but now we check more than 90.

“Also, with big data technology, cloud platforms have been established so the wells can send the results automatically and immediately to our monitoring center,” he said.

Although China’s monitoring technology has been modernized and is in the top tier of the world, the number of monitoring facilities is far from enough and engineers still cannot manage to take groundwater samples to test using the current technology, he added.

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