Half the shallow groundwater in China has been contaminated, said a senior official with the China Geological Survey (CGS) on Sunday.
Yin Yueping, director of the CGS Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Department, said the country's groundwater resources have been exploited so irrationally that environmental damage is visible in many areas of the country.
The damage includes ground settling and depression, salt water intrusion and desertification.
Yin said China's groundwater management model is inadequate, with a poor automated supervision system and outdated contamination recovery methods.
"China's groundwater management has lagged behind the world for around two decades," he said.
Groundwater has enormous potential in China. Official figures show that 884 billion cubic meters of natural groundwater are replenished each year, with 353 billion cubic meters available for use.
In addition, there are 260 billion cubic meters of shallow groundwater available.
Yin said the 34th Congress of International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), will be held in Beijing from Monday to Friday to discuss topics such as groundwater quality, groundwater safety and contamination recovery, and the management of groundwater in the context of rural and urban development.
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2006)