Environmental Geology

, Volume 55, Issue 8, pp 1725–1735 | Cite as

The development and control of the land subsidence in the Yangtze Delta, China

  • Jichun WuEmail author
  • Xiaoqing Shi
  • Yuqun Xue
  • Yun Zhang
  • Zixin Wei
  • Jun Yu
Original Article


Land subsidence in China occurs predominantly in 17 provinces (cities) situated in the eastern and middle regions of the country, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Jiangsu, and Hebei provinces. It is primarily caused by groundwater overpumping. One of the areas most severely affected by land subsidence is the Yangtze Delta, most of which consists of Shanghai City, the Su-Xi-Chang area (Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou cities) of Jiangsu Province, and the Hang-Jia-Hu area (Hangzhou, Jiaxing and Huzhou cities) of Zhejiang Province. The excessive exploitation of groundwater forms in a large regional cone of depression and, consequently, land subsidence is also regional, currently centered in the Shanghai and Su-Xi-Chang areas. In 2002, the maximum cumulative subsidence of Shanghai, Su-Xi-Chang and Hang-Jia-Hu were 2.63 m, 2.00 and 1.06 m, respectively. The land subsidence area is continuing to expand throughout the Yangtze Delta. To study the characteristics and the pattern of this land subsidence, the government has implemented a monitoring system involving the placement of 37 groups of extensometers (layers marks) and drilling of more than 1000 observation wells. These provide an invaluable historical record of deformation and pore water pressure and facilitate studies on the special features of soil deformation when the groundwater level changes due to pumping. Several measures have been taken in recent years to control the development of the land subsidence in the different areas; these include groundwater injection, prohibition of pumping deep confined groundwater, and an adjustment of the pumping depth and magnitude of the groundwater withdrawn. At present, although the subsidence area is still increasing slowly, the subsidence rate is controlled.


Groundwater overpumping Land subsidence Yangtze Delta 



The author would like to express appreciation to the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. This paper is financially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China grants No. 40335045, 40672160 and the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Youth Scholar No. 40725010.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jichun Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaoqing Shi
    • 1
  • Yuqun Xue
    • 1
  • Yun Zhang
    • 1
  • Zixin Wei
    • 2
  • Jun Yu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geology Survey of ShanghaiShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Geological Survey of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina

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