Groundwater Policy Dialogue - Water Saving Groundwater Quantity Management


The Rural Water and Food Security component of the China Europe Water Platform organized a Groundwater Policy Dialogue on Water Saving Groundwater Quantity Management in Jinan 29 June 2019. 

The PI RURAL Water Saving by Groundwater Quantity Management attracted 45 participants, ranging from MWR Department senior officials to Shandong County staff and from Danish, Swiss and Chinese university and sector institute researchers to University of Jinan Graduate Students. The event was arranged back-to-back with the 2019 International Groundwater Symposium and was supported by the EU Partnership Instrument, Ministry of Water Resources, Swiss Development Cooperation, University of Jinan and the Water Research Institute of Shandong Province.

In 12 presentations, followed by lively discussions, water saving options and opportunities were addressed ranging from policy to technology and from public awareness to advanced research and science. The presentations can be found below. The program of the workshop is available here. 

Focus was on research and measures taken on the North China Plain, where groundwater aquifers are at risk of collapse due to more than 60 years of excessive groundwater abstraction.


Conclusions and recommendations:

  • The most efficient water saving measures in rural areas of the NCP are winter fallow replacing winter wheat and substitution of grains by economic tree crops, in both cases supported by appropriate government subsidies
  • The most efficient water saving measures in urban areas are full cost recovery pricing and reduction of non-revenue water
  • Urban water consumption of 100 litres per person per day is a realistic target
  • Awareness raising and education on the value and scarcity of water enhances acceptance of water saving measures at all ages and levels of society
  • Economic modelling indicates it is possible to achieve sustainable abstraction of groundwater and provide fit-for-purpose water on the NCP, but it will be at a cost in the order of 15 billion RMB/year until stability is achieved
  • Managed aquifer recharge and improved quality of inter-basin transfers are efficient approaches to reduce groundwater recovery costs
  • Inter-basin transfers to the NCP should be prioritised for urban water supply to be affordable
  • Reuse of water should be facilitated by fit-for-purpose standards
  • Achieving national food security with sustainable use of groundwater requires different agricultural regions to make use of their comparative advantages
  • Water fee and tax collection is best done by outsourcing to the private sector
  • Without farmers’ cooperation no system will work

The recommendations will be compiled in “Road to Recovery Part I. Groundwater Quantity Management” and summarised in a policy brief to be presented at the 2019 CEWP Annual Conference 8. November in Portugal.





Please quote or contact author for original PPT in case you wish to use the information provided. Contact information of the authors can be found here.

  1. “Banner”
  2. Dr ZHANG Jiangong – National Policies on Groundwater Demand Management (in Chinese)
  3. Dr HUANG Yifan - Progress of Water Saving in China
  4. Dr LI Fulin - Water pricing policy for Shandong Province
  5. Mr Bjørn Kaare Jensen - Water Saving by Resource and Supply Demand Management – 30 years’ history of Denmark
  6. Mr XU Yuanchao - Impact of water on economy and investors
  7. Dr Grith Martinsen - Hydro-Economic Modelling of Water Saving and Allocation Policies on the North China Plain
  8. Dr ZHONG Shuai - Optimising Water Saving Policy using Quantity and Price Control Mechanisms          
  9. Dr SUN Tianhe - New Integrated Measures for Governing Groundwater Overdraft and Logic of Water Pricing Policy
  10. Dr Denys Grombacher - New geophysical tools for survey and assessment of groundwater resources – SkyTEM and Apsu
  11. Dr WANG Weiping - Managed Aquifer Recharge for Irrigation in the Yellow River Floodplain Area
  12. Dr Jens Aamand - Managed Aquifer Recharge
  13. Dr Wolfgang Kinzelbach - Village-level monitoring and management of groundwater resources
  14. Dr LI Yu - A Red-line Based Decision Support System for Groundwater Management in Guantao, North China Plain


The Seminar was the first of three annual seminars on groundwater management that shall lead to formulation of policy briefs and guidelines to be presented at the CEWP Annual Conferences. 


The planned annual seminars are: 

2019       Groundwater Quantity Management (China)

2020      Groundwater Quality Management (Denmark, IWA World Water Congress,18-23 October, 2019)

2021       Sustainable use of Groundwater (China)

University of Jinan & Water Research Institute of Shandong Province, China