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1.3.06 Example region Shandong – concepts to combat avoidable water shortages

The northern provinces of China have severe water shortage and pollution problems, the consequences of which are stagnant socio-economic development, a decrease in the quality of life and damage to the environment. And yet there is no fundamental lack of water; it is the rapid growth in population, industry and agriculture plus the uncoordinated water management measures that are often leading to water conflicts. Integrated water resource management using German monitoring and plant technology is intended to resolve the major problems experienced in the Shandong province and simultaneously serve as a sustainable concept for use in other regions of the world.

The basin of the Huangshuihe river is 1,034 square metres in size and situated in the north-east of the Shandong province on China’s Pacific coast (64 kilometre coastline). Agriculture is one of the main sources of income in this region, but its development has since been heavily curtailed due to a shortage of water – and the same applies to the region’s industry. The excessive strain being placed on resources has also become apparent, with overuse of groundwater sources leading to saltwater infiltration.

As part of the bilateral research project entitled “Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Coastal Area of Shandong Province, PR China”, an international team of scientists is now developing an integrated water resource management (IWRM) system to solve the major problems faced in this region. The aims of IWRM are:

  • Integration of social, economic and environmental aspects
  • Integrated consideration of groundwater and surface water (quantity and quality)
  • Optimisation of the water balance for the entire basin.

German-Chinese research team

The research project is being funded by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the BMBF, bringing together German expertise, the latest developments in connection with the WFD and the research efforts of Chinese experts in the coastal region of the Shandong province. Using Longkou as an example area, German and Chinese scientists are working together with local authorities and research facilities to develop an Example region Shandong – concepts to combat avoidable water shortages application-oriented strategy for optimising water management. Ideally, it should help relieve the water shortage when applied to the entire Shandong province.

  1. The project is divided into four sub-projects:
    Socio-economic decision-making criteria for a decision support system (DSS)◄
  2. Development of a method for planning sustainable measures within IWRM
  3. Integrated concept for saving, reusing and recycling water in the home, industry and agriculture
  4. Development of a water monitoring concept for the Huangshuihe basin

Construction diagram for the planned decision support system (DSS)

Construction diagram for the planned decision support system (DSS)
Construction diagram for the planned decision support system (DSS)

Development of a decision support system

Testing sampling technology at a groundwater measuring point

Testing sampling technology at a groundwater measuring point
Testing sampling technology at a groundwater measuring point

Scientists are developing a DSS as part of this project. This system is intended to help optimise sustainable water management and to devise a monitoring concept. Socioeconomic decision-making criteria are input into the system; these were initially determined by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) recording the present water usage in the project area (report: “Assessment of current water uses”). The analysis of the socio-economic and institutional framework conditions in the water sector formed part of a master’s thesis. The scenarios for future water usage developed therein were determined through linear projection of current usage; a different procedure is currently not possible. However, the greatest gap in information within the framework conditions lies in the socio-economic institutions and institutional tools. Despite close collaboration with the Chinese partners, it is still just as difficult to acquire actual data and figures for agriculture, households and institutional measures.

Another element of focus was on the collation and quantitative description of measures to serve as a basis for the DSS. During close collaboration between DHI-WASY GmbH and the Ruhr University of Bochum, experts put together a comprehensive catalogue of potential water management tools. Questions relating to the selection method are currently being discussed. For example, a preselection stage will make it possible to reduce the large number of potential measures (or combinations of measures) in advance. A newly developed interactive water balance sheet and a groundwater model devised as part of the project have already been able to indicate that the water balance in the project region has almost balanced out over the last year. It would therefore appear, as already suspected, that there is no fundamental lack of water and that this is purely a management problem.

Pilot project plans complete

In the meantime, scientists have completed concepts and design plans for the use of rainwater in the Songfeng settlement and for efficient irrigation for the Weilong Wine Company, which have been transferred to the Chinese partners. Reactions to these are still pending. Plans for pilot projects to enrich the groundwater with treated wastewater in the Dongcheng sewage plant and to reuse process waters in the Yulong paper plant are still underway.

Monitoring system under construction

The scientists were also able to make significant progress in implementing the monitoring concept. A rough analysis of the project area undertaken before the project highlighted clear weaknesses in the existing monitoring system, particularly in the recording of groundwater levels and water quality parameters. The Chinese partners have now built two new measuring points, and a third is planned. The first measuring point is equipped with a solar multi-parameter remote probe, which continually measures five different values and transmits these daily to a website. A facility with additional measuring and sampling technology plus regular sampling for chemical analysis are in the preparatory stages.

There are also weak spots in recording the amount of effluent. Of particular importance is the fact that the effluent data for the Huangchengji – the largest tributary in the project region – is missing. The scientists have in the meantime designed a measuring system in co-ordination with the Chinese partners; it is to be installed just before the mouth of the Huangchengji in the main river and will provide data for the groundwater model.

Project website (only in German) www.dhi-wasy.de

Prof. Dr. S. Kaden (Project Coordinator)
Waltersdorfer Straße 105
12526 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49(0) 30/67 99 98-0
Fax: +49(0) 30/67 99 98-99
E-mail: s.kaden@dhi-wasy.de
Internet: www.dhigroup.com
Funding reference: 02WM0923-6
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