Groundwater Protection now in Place in Shaanxi Province

In Shaanxi Province, groundwater is the main source of water for drinking and irrigating crops. It is also vital for sustaining ecosystems such as streams, lakes, and wetlands. But this resource is coming under pressure due to population growth, urbanisation and changing land use, and climate change. GWP China Shaanxi conducted a series of studies to analyse the role of groundwater in water resources allocation. These led to a proposal to establish legislation and provided policy recommendations to decision-makers to strengthen the management of groundwater.

The proposed legislation was submitted to the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Congress for discussion in 2015 and came into force as a legal regulation in April 2016. GWP Shaanxi has been working closely with the Shaanxi Water Resources Department to implement the regulations.

This work included organising a training workshop to help the leaders of relevant authorities set up a legal framework to implement the new regulations at provincial, city, and county levels. The partners also used public media platforms to promote a competition to test people’s knowledge of the new regulations and this attracted nearly 10,000 participants.

Implementation of the regulations is being assessed through 69 new monitoring stations. The partners are aiming to reduce the area of over-exploited groundwater by 8.5 percent (representing 120 km2) and to cut the average allowable withdrawal by 30 percent before the end of 2020.

Photo: Skyline of Xian, capital of Shaanxi Province, China, by