The groundwater storage of North China Plain depleted at a rate of 7.2 ± 1.1 km3/yr from 2002 to 2014, or 6 to 8 billion tons each year since 2002, according to a research headed by a Chinese scientist.
The team, led by Feng Wei, an associate Professor at Chinese Academy of Sciences, published the result based on satellite data on the academic journal Remote Sensing in April.
The North China has been threatened by a severe water shortage, with over 70,000 square kilometers of funnel-shaped depressions having been identified, the largest in the world, according to the country"s national plan on groundwater pollution control for 2011-2020.
The problem is not new but the approach used by Feng"s team provides new and accurate understanding of it. He is one of the firsts who used data received from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites which took measurements of the Earth’s gravity.
The twin satellites completed their missions in Oct 2017 and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), which was launched in May, will continue to study data.