A critical review of groundwater utilization and management in China's inland water shortage areas
Groundwater, as an important store of freshwater, plays a more critical role in sustaining the ecosystem and enhancing human adaptation to changing climate than surface water. In particular, it can store large volumes of water to naturally buffer the pressure of water shortage against seasonal changes in rainfall. However, groundwater itself is also vulnerable to climate change, showing a great change in hydrologic cycle. Therefore, effective groundwater management has a strategic importance for China's water security. At present, China is facing a groundwater crisis because of the dual effects of natural and anthropogenic factors. Many new ideas and solutions have been given in previous studies on groundwater utilization and management. This paper vividly captures these studies. The paper summarizes groundwater properties and the situation of groundwater development and utilization. The paper also reports challenges, strategies and policies in groundwater sustainability.