Ground Water Sustainability: Methodology and Application to the North China Plain
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Author(s) Journal compilation © 2008 National Ground Water Association
Volume 46, Issue 6, pages 897–909, November–December 2008
How to Cite
Liu, J., Zheng, C., Zheng, L. and Lei, Y. (2008), Ground Water Sustainability: Methodology and Application to the North China Plain. Ground Water, 46: 897–909. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2008.00486.x
- Issue published online: 23 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2008
- Received December 2007, accepted June 2008.
This article analyzes part of a ground water flow system in the North China Plain (NCP) subject to severe overexploitation and rapid depletion. A transient ground water flow model was constructed and calibrated to quantify the changes in the flow system since the predevelopment 1950s. The flow model was then used in conjunction with an optimization code to determine optimal pumping schemes that improve ground water management practices. Finally, two management scenarios, namely, urbanization and the South-to-North Water Transfer Project, were evaluated for their potential impacts on the ground water resources in the study area. Although this study focuses on the NCP, it illustrates a general modeling framework for analyzing the sustainability, or the lack thereof, of ground water flow systems driven by similar hydrogeologic and economic conditions. The numerical simulation is capable of quantifying the various components of the overall flow budget and evaluating the impacts of different management scenarios. The optimization modeling allows the determination of the maximum “sustainable pumping” that satisfies a series of prescribed constraints. It can also be used to minimize the economic costs associated with ground water development and management. Furthermore, since the NCP is one of the most water scarce and economically active regions in the world, the conclusions and insights from this study are of general interest and international significance.