Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) recently released its 2015 survey
results, which show that of its more than 5,000 underground water
monitoring sites in 202 cities, the water quality at more than 60
percent is "bad" or "very bad."
The factors that led many of the sites to be substandard include
excessive water hardness and elevated concentrations of manganese and
sulfate. At some locations potentially harmful concentrations of
arsenic, lead, cadmium and chrome were found in groundwater.
Reports about polluted water resources are always alarming, and
different government departments seem to have different responses.
In early April, a Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) report saying "80
percent of China’s underground water is undrinkable" evoked great public
The MWR later claimed that the media had misunderstood its report, which
meant to say that 80 percent of the shallow layer of underground water
was undrinkable, but the deeper layer of underground water, which is a
major source of drinking water, was not that bad.
"In the water pollution report, the MWR looked at 18 provinces and
regions in northern China where water pollution is more serious, but the
monitored subjects were mainly shallow underground water," said Jia
Shaofeng, deputy director of the water resources research center at the
Chinese Academy of Sciences. "We are using less underground water for
our drinking water now."
Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs,
said many localities have been digging deeper to collect underground
water because the shallow water is too polluted. "But it does not mean
we don’t have to worry about the quality of the deeper water," he said,
adding that deeper underground water can also get polluted, and the
amount of such water is limited.