Beijing faces water shortages and subsidence

Beijing faces water shortages and subsidence Facts

800 wells that extract water within the fifth ring road in Beijing, will be closed this year to keep the ground water. In 2011, the total amount of water that has been used residents of the capital, was 3.6 billion cubic meters. According to the authorities, by 2014, the extraction of water in urban areas will be discontinued, as the capital is observed subsidence, in other words, the city falls to the ground. In Beijing, there are over 10,000 wells in the city and its suburbs. Excessive use of surface water, along with pumping groundwater depletion means underground reserves and a sharp reduction in the ability to address them.

Photo: Workers carry out the delivery of drinking water in the residential district of Beijing, February 26, 2012.

Statistics for the last 10 years due to intensive extraction of groundwater level dropped from 12 to 24 meters, which is the main cause of land subsidence in Beijing. To prevent the effects of early subsidence of the city was established seven monitoring stations, has 117 points of observation.

The most extensive subsidence in an area of the city is at a rate of 13.75 inches per year, in other areas the number is about 9 inches. In recent years in the areas of subsidence, the formation of cracks in the gas and water pipes and destroying roads. The construction of new underground metro lines is potentially dangerous project in scale subsidence. This problem is concerned not only Beijing, but also the 50 other cities in China in the north and along the Yangtze River Delta, including Shanghai.

Photo: The 7-meter crack in the road near the World Financial Center in Shanghai, February 16, 2012.

Experts warn about the possible consequences of a sharp rise in the water table, which can cause a gradual increase in the soil. Water may appear in places that have always been dry, for example, in the subway tunnels. The State Council has approved a number of measures to prevent subsidence from 2011 to 2020, which will include a nationwide monitoring of hazardous areas and greater control of pumping groundwater.

With the increasing number of population Beijing aims to modify the system of waste water treatment so that the treated water can be used for flushing toilets, washing machines, landscaping parks, cooling power plants and other uses of waste water.

The introduction of the new project "North and South" will provide Beijing 1 billion cubic meters of water by 2014. This amount of water should meet the needs of the third of the capital's residents. According to the project the extraction of water from the basin of China's longest river, the Yangtze, to help arid regions in the north, including Beijing and Tianjin, to solve the water problem. Although implementation of the project can not be considered a solution, it will help reduce the use of groundwater in Beijing half, where two-thirds of all the water falls on the ground water.

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