North China's Hebei Province, which is plagued by the overuse of underground water, is seeing a rise in underground water levels, thanks to efforts it has made to curb the exploitation.
The province has formed 3.36 billion cubic meters of surface water use capacity to replace underground water exploitation during the past five years, Xu Qin, governor of the province, said at the ongoing local parliamentary session.
Over many years, the province, which lacks water resources, has been largely relying on underground water for grain production. Over 80 percent of farmland irrigation comes from wells.
During the past three decades, the province has reported an over exploitation of about 150 billion cubic meters of underground water, resulting in problems such as the drying up of rivers, shrinking of wetlands, ground subsidence and sea water encroachment.
The province has made use of the south-to-north water diversion project, and constructed some water conservation projects, to increase the use of surface water from outside the province, according to a government report.
In December 2017, Hebei designated an area of about 2,500 square km where underground water exploitation has been banned as well as 40,000 square km where it has been restricted.
In 2018, the province will continue its efforts to restore underground water levels and reduce the over exploitation of underground water for agricultural use by 258 million cubic meters.