World Water Day: Cherish precious groundwater

World Water Day falls on March 22 and China Water Week takes place from March 22 to 28. The theme of World Water day this year is to cherish the groundwater, which is sometimes neglected by us.  

Groundwater refers to the water found underground in soil, sand and rock. It is an invisible reserve that can store 100 times as much as global freshwater lakes and rivers, according to an article published in the journal Science. In 2020, China had 855.35 billion cubic meters of groundwater, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for 70 percent of the population. 

The overexploitation of groundwater has eased in China in recent years amid the country's efforts to reduce exploitation and increase water replenishment. In 2020, the country extracted 89.25 billion cubic meters of groundwater, down 24.2 billion cubic meters from 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Water Resources. 

In November 2021, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed the Regulation on Groundwater Management. The new regulation, which took effect on December 1, 2021, set out specific rules for groundwater in the areas of survey and planning, conservation and protection, over-exploitation treatment, pollution control, and supervision and management. According to the document, the amount of groundwater extracted as well as groundwater levels will be placed under control. 

China has stepped up efforts to stem groundwater overexploitation over the years. Nearly 8 billion cubic meters of groundwater had been replenished by rivers and lakes as of 2021, and it will focus on 11 key regions across the country and further strengthen the control of groundwater overexploitation. 

(Cover image via CFP. With input from Xinhua.)

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