The underground water level in northern and eastern parts of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region dropped by five meters over the past decade, according to a surveyof water resources.
Kaiser Abdulla, an engineer with the regional Hydrologic Resources Bureau, attributed the sharp drop to excessive use of both surface and underground water in recent years.
A "funnel" area with a depth of 14 meters had been created in Urumqi, Changji, Turpan and other areas with rapidly expanding industrial bases.
The problem has aroused great local government concern and a ban has been placed on the digging of new water wells in 35 counties in northern Xinjiang.
Experts called for the rational exploitation of water resources in the 35 counties to curb ecological deterioration.
(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2002)