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Hebei water overused

NORTH China's Hebei Province, the major water supplier to Beijing, has overexploited its groundwater, causing subsidence that has formed 20 heavily subsided areas over more than 40,000 square kilometers, according to a local water official.

"Water shortages have become a big problem facing the province's social and economic development," said Li Qinglin, director of Hebei's water conservation department.

"Water resources in Hebei have dwindled by nearly 50 percent, compared to the 1950s," said Li, adding the province consumes 20.5 billion to 21.5 billion cubic meters of water annually but only has 17 billion cubic meters of surface water, leaving groundwater to supply the difference.

A water expert said Hebei has overused 120 billion cubic meters of groundwater since 1976.


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