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April 23, 2016

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Land subsidence reduced to safe level

LAND subsidence in Shanghai has been reduced to what is considered a safe level — 5 millimeters per year, the city’s top planning body announced yesterday.

This has been achieved through the careful monitoring and recharging of groundwater, a hydrologic process where water moves downward from the surface, which is essential for sustainable underground aquatic management.

The authority recharged over 20 million cubic meters of groundwater last year to reduce annual land subsidence to five from the average seven millimeters seen between 2010 and 2015, explained Li Bing, senior engineer with the Shanghai Geological Research Institute under the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration.

The administration yesterday launched “Geology and Development of a City,” the first exhibition focusing on the city’s geological history and current conditions, at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

The permanent exhibition on the third floor of the hall features photos, models and soil samples illustrating how the city’s geology formed 2.6 million years ago and what its terrain originally looked like.

The authority now has strict control over underground water exploitation, the main cause of land subsidence in the city, which is only 4 meters above sea level on average, Li said at the opening of the exhibition.

A total of 4 million cubic meters of groundwater were exploited last year, mainly for the production of mineral water, said Li.

The city sank 2.6 centimeters in the 1960s due to the overuse of groundwater, but the problem is now under control, Li told Shanghai Daily.

The engineer said the institute has begun using global positioning system technology to constantly monitor subsidence.

The Shanghai People’s Congress, the city’s top legislative body, has also issued the city’s first land-subsidence prevention law to regulate the exploitation of underground water, imposing a fine of up to 500,000 yuan (US$77,000) on violators.


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