Assessment of water resource security in karst area of Guizhou Province, China

Solving the problem of engineering water shortage is key to ensure water resource security in the karst area

It can be seen from the subsystems of the indices sorted by the absolute MIV that the engineering water shortage subsystem had the greatest impact on water resource security in the karst area, which is the main reason to promote its transformation.

The water shortage in karst areas is caused by poor natural conditions and inadequate engineering conditions, that is, “engineering water shortage”. It is a serious problem in the Guizhou karst area. The main reasons are as follows. First, the karst hydrogeological and geomorphic conditions, with high mountains and deep rivers, make Guizhou a water shortage area. Second, the karst area is rich in water resources, but it is difficult to develop and utilize these resources. Inter annual variations of rainfall are not significant, but there are large differences within the year, which can easily lead to seasonal drought. Third, the layout of water conservancy projects such as water retention, water storage, and water transfer is unreasonable or insufficient, resulting in conditions of shortage of irrigation and the inadequacy of drinking water for people and livestock. Therefore, the Guizhou karst area has become an area of water shortage, especially engineering water shortage. This is the main bottleneck restricting the coordinated development of the region’s social economy and ecology.

Water conservancy projects can determine the diversion and allocation of water resources across time and district to achieve reasonable allocation, efficient utilization, and protection. This indicates the need for higher requirements for engineering water storage and improving water resource utilization efficiency. Therefore, the construction of water conservancy projects is key to ensure future water resource security.

The modes of development and utilization of water resources are also significant in the karst area

In the past 15 years, Guizhou Province has attached great importance to the development and utilization of water resources. The subsystems of water resource carrying capacity and vulnerability in the Guizhou karst area have risen steadily, which has improved water resource security. However, the development and utilization of water resources will cause changes in the quantity and structure of water usage. This has both optimization and constraints on regional development. Therefore, the geological, hydrological, and hydrogeological characteristics of the karst area must be investigated. The development and utilization of water resources in the karst area should involve appropriate technologies or methods in accordance with these different hydrogeological structures. Geology, geomorphology, rainwater, distributions of farmland and residences, and hydrogeological structures in the karst area are the major factors to consider for solving water shortages in this area35. Rain collection, underground reservoirs, a decentralized water supply and runoff gathering are significant modes of development in the karst area.

The situation of water resource security in karst area of Guizhou is gradually getting better

This is achieved through water conservation projects and technological measures for water resource exploitation, utilization, projection, and reasonable allocation and control. Meanwhile, Guizhou achieves the security of regional water resource utilization and development through adjusting the regional economic pattern, water resource utilization technology, and so forth.

From 2001 to 2006, the status of water resource security was serious, and there was a moderate warning level. At that time, the industrialization of Guizhou province was developing rapidly, and the construction of water conservancy and other infrastructure was also advancing rapidly. Increased attention was given to soil erosion, desertification, water resource pollution, and other problems. Despite high water consumption, the water environment was gradually improving. However, rapid economic and social development has exceeded the carrying capacity of the water resources during this period. Some problems persist in the study area, such as inadequacy of urban sewage treatment facilities, outdated water conservancy facilities, and insufficient prevention of environmental pollution. Urban water pollution treatment facilities and garbage treatment facilities are seriously outdated and cannot meet the requirements of urban development and water environmental protection. These problems have led to a low starting point for water resource security utilization in Guizhou Province. Although the situation has been improved and alleviated year by year, it is still in a moderate warning level, and the water resource security situation is still severe.

After reaching the critical safety level in 2007, the water resource security of Guizhou Province declined slightly in 2009 and 2013, although a critical safety level was maintained; the safety level further deteriorated to a moderate warning level in 2011. This deterioration occurred because Guizhou suffered its worst drought in a century from 2009 to 2011, and another drought in 2013. According to the information provided by single indices, the treatment rate of urban waste water, proportion of water supply for water lifting and diversion projects, qualifying rate of water environment function zones, qualifying rate of industrial waste water, degree of development and utilization of groundwater, and density of large and medium-sized reservoirs all showed increasing trends year by year or showed relatively high levels. In contrast, the indices of irrigation water consumption per unit area, above moderate rocky desertification area ratio, water consumption per ten thousand yuan GDP, and water consumption per ten thousand yuan industrial output decreased year by year. All of these indices played a driving role in water utilization and water resource security in the study area. Although the once-in-a-century drought reduced the amount of water, Guizhou Province improved the utilization rate of water resources in the dry years, which alleviated the impact of the reduction of water resources to a certain extent, and allowed the water resource security in the study area to barely maintain the critical safety level. This finding is consistent with previous research conclusions: the engineering water shortage subsystem had largest effect on water resource security in the karst area, whereas the water quantity subsystem had the least influence.

It can be inferred that the requirements for ensuring water resource security in the karst area are a good economic development model, environmental protection, pollution control, and improvement of basic water conservancy facilities. These measures can be conducive to actively coping with the impact of abnormal climate changes on the utilization of water resources.

Source: Ecology -

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