Karst groundwater management by defining protection zones based on regional geological structures and groundwater flow fields

Yonghong Hao, Tian Chyi J. Yeh, Caihong Hu, Yanrong Wang, Xia Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


In a semiarid region, the karst aquifer generally forms a large groundwater reservoir that can play an important role in regional water supply. But because of the specific physical properties of karst aquifers, they are vulnerable to pollution and anthropogenic impacts. Karst groundwater management strategies are vital. As representative of karst springs in a semiarid area, Niangziguan Springs is located in the east of Shanxi Province, China with an annual average rate of discharge of 10.34 m3/s (1956-2003) (Y. Liang, unpublished data). The Niangziguan Spring Basin covers an area of 7,394 km2 with an annual average precipitation of 535 mm (1958-2003) (Hao et al. in Carsologica Sinica 23(1):43-47, 2004). Over the past three decades, accelerated groundwater exploitation has caused water-table decline in the aquifer, reduction of the spring discharge, and deterioration of water quality. In this study, three protection zones were defined to ensure the quality and capacity of this resource. The confluence of the 11 spring systems and the discharge areas were defined as I protection zone, the recharge basin was II protection zone, and the slack water area where there is little surface recharge was the III protection zone. Management strategies for each zone were suggested and evaluated to provide a scientific foundation for sustainable utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006



  • China
  • Groundwater flow
  • Groundwater management
  • Karst
  • Niangziguan Springs Basin
  • Semiarid region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Soil Science

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