October 28, 2012

2012: Highlight # 23

How can WUAs facilitate the transition from managing “groundwater exploitation” to managing “groundwater conservation”? Eefje Aarnoudse and others present a case study from north-west China...

How WUAs Facilitate Direct Groundwater Regulation

A Case Study of Minqin County, China

Eefje Aarnoudse, Bettina Bluemling, Philippus Wester and Wei Qu

Minqin used to be a green oasis located at the border of the Gobi desert. Over the past decades the region suffered from falling water tables and dying vegetation. From 2007 the Chinese government has embarked on a large project to “save the oasis” and drastically reduce the agricultural use of groundwater in the area. Unlike cases in other parts of the world, the reduction of groundwater pumping through direct regulation measures here seems to have been successful. We try to explore the dynamics behind the implementation of regulation policies and understand why the formation of Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) was such an essential step in the implementation process.

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