Climate and Environmental Change

Water resources utilization and eco-environmental safety in Northwest China

  • 1. College of Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070, China|
    2. Cold and Arid Region Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China

Received date: 2005-05-26

  Revised date: 2006-03-24

  Online published: 2006-09-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40235053; No.40401012; AIACC, No.AS25; Lanzhou Jiaotong University Foundation


Northwest China includes Xinjiang Ugyur Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Shaanxi Province, covering 308×104 km2. It is located in the warm-temperate zone and the climate is arid or semi-arid. Precipitation is very scarce but evaporation is extremely high. The climate is dry, the water resources are deficient, the eco-environment is fragile, and the distribution of water resources is uneven. In this region, precipitation is the only input, and evaporation is the only output in the inland rivers, and precipitation, surface water and groundwater change with each other for many times, which benefits the storage and utilization of water resources. The average precipitation in this region is 232 mm, the total precipitation amount is 7003×108 m3/a, the surface water resources are 1891×108 m3/a, the total natural groundwater resources are 1150×108 m3/a, the total available water resources are 438×108 m3/a, and the total water resources are 1996×108 m3/a and per capita water resources are 2278 m3/a. The water resources of the whole area are 5.94×104 m3/(a.km2), being only one-fifth of the mean value in China. Now, the available water resources are 876×108 m3/a, among which groundwater is proximate 130×108 m3/a.

Cite this article

ZHANG Jishi, XU Jinxiang, ZHANG Yongqiu,WANG Mingquan, CHENG Zhongshan . Water resources utilization and eco-environmental safety in Northwest China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2006 , 16(3) : 277 -285 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-006-0303-z