AUTHORS AND AFFILIATIONS
China Geological Survey, Department of Hydrogeology and
UNESCO Office Beijing
Transboundary Aquifers in Asia
Transboundary Aquifers in China
Ertix Valley Plain Aquifer
Yalu River Valley
Middle Heilongjiang Amur River Basin
Karst Aquifer of Up River of Hong River and Zuojiang Valley
Transboundary aquifers have crucial ecological and social
implications. This article attempts to summarize the
investigation on the transboundary aquifers in Asia. The
groundwater resources in Asia, including its distribution,
exploitation and challenges is also provided. Hydrogeological
condition of the Heilongjiang-Amur River Basin aquifer, which
is one of the eight major aquifers, is further elaborated as a
• World’s largest aquifers, including the Rum-Saq, the Nubian,
and the North Sahara Aquifer.These provide alternative
solutions to prevent conflicts and maintain peace. (Naff and
Matson, 1984). Acting as precious resources hidden
underground(Puri and Aureli, 2005).
• An overview on the groundwater resources in China,
including its distribution, quality and recharge, as well as
recent challenges has also been included.
The north, south, east and west of Asia border on the Pacific
Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
The major rivers flows into Pacific Ocean are HeilongjiangAmur River, Yellow River, Yangtze River, Pearl River and
The major rivers flows into Indian Ocean are Indian River,
Ganges River, Salween River, Ayeyarwady River, Tigris River
and Euphrates River etc.
The inland Rivers are situated in central and west arid area of
The majors are Sill River, Amu River, Ili River, Talimu River
and Jordan River etc.
North Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Qinghai-Tibet tableland
and Middle-lowest Yangtze River.
ERTIX VALLEY PLAIN AQUIFER
Shared by China and Kazakhstan.
Originates from southern slope of the Altai Mountains.
Drainage area:1070000 square kilometers.
Ertix River flows into the Zhaisang lake of Kazakhstan that
subsequently feeds into the E'Bi lake of Russia, and into the
YALU RIVER VALLEY
Shared by China and Korea.
Basalt fracture rock aquifers are the sources for water supply for
Chemical type is HCO3-Mg.Ca.
MIDDLE HEILONGJIANG–AMUR RIVER
• Shared by China and Russia.
• The total area is estimated to be 100000 km2
• The area of the Russian portion is 55,000 km2
• China with an area of 45000 km2
• Divided into:
a. Quaternary pore aquifer
b. Tertiary pore aquifer
c. Pre- Quaternary bedrock fissure aquifer
KARST AQUIFER OF UP RIVER OF HONG
RIVER AND ZUOJIANG VALLEY
Shared by China and Vietnam.
Area within China is 62000 km2.
Annual average precipitation:1500~1800mm
Geomorphologically, from northwest to southeast, there are
valleys and plains in both river sides of Zuojiang valley.
Depth of groundwater is mostly less than 30m and is even less
than 10m at some places
MIDDLE HEILONGJIANG-AMUR RIVER BASIN GEOGRAPHY
• Encircled by mountains, with the Buren heights in Russia to
northwest, the Sihote-Aline mountain range to the east, and
China’s Wanda Mountains to the south.
• The total area is 100,000 km2.
• The Chinese portion of the basin is called Three River plain.
with an area of 45,000 km2.
• The Russian portion of the aquifer is 55,000km2
• Important economic region for both northeast China and the
far east of Russia.
• The dominating climate of the river is the typical continental
• The annual mean temperature of the area is 2.80C, with the
highest temperature of 37.70C and the lowest temperature of
• The annual mean precipitation of the basin fluctuates from
• Major rivers within this basin are the Heilongjiang River,
Songhua River and Wusuli River.
• Heilongjiang River is a transboundary river flowing across
China, Russia and Mongolia.
• 11th longest river in the world with a length of , is 4,400 km.
• Its total drainage area is up to 1,855,000 km2, ranking it the
10th largest in the world.
• The drainage area within China is about 893,400 km2
accounting for 48% of the total drainage area of the entire
• Songhua River is the largest tributary with a total length of
2,309 km and a drainage area of over 546,000 km2.
• The Wusuli Rive is another major tributary with a length of
890 km, with a drainage area of nearly 7,000 km2. The length
of main channel of the Wusuli River is 500 km
Unfortunately, China and Russia have not jointly evaluated the
groundwater resources of the Heilongjiang-Amur river basin,
but the two countries have calculated the groundwater
resource contained within their own areas, respectively.
• The annual average groundwater recharge in the Chinese
portion is 5.14 billion m3, and the total annual groundwater
available is 3.71 billion m3.
• The the total groundwater reserves in the Russian portion are
150 m3/s and the groundwater withdrawal modeled is
GROUND WATER QUALITY
• According to the investigation on groundwater quality in the
Chinese portion, chemicals contained in the water are mainly
HCO3-Ca. Mg, HCO3-Ca, and HCO3-Na,Ca. The
groundwater is mostly low mineralized weak acidic soft water
with high content of humic acid.
• The mineralization degree is generally less than 0.5g/L and
varies between 0.2g/L and 0.75g/L.
• The pH value is 6.5-7.5 and total hardness is 1.454.29mmol/L. Most of the water is good for drinking and
• Groundwater of the middle Heilongjiang-Amur River basin is
the primary source of water supply for people living in both
China and Russia for irrigation and human consumption.
• Middle Heilongjiang-Amur River basin has several advantages
including extensively distributed aquifer and groundwater with
• All these features turn groundwater in aquifers of the Songhua
River and Heilongjiang-Amur River a crucial source of water
supply for the Jiamusi city of China and the Khabarovsk city
Water is an important and precious resource for the entire
globe. It is essential for human existence and is also
extensively linked with social development. The recent
international forums, including the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the World Water
Forum in Kyoto and Mexico, and the Dushanbe Fresh Water
Forum, have consistently stressed that the function of water
for human survival and social development would not only
depend on national but also on international water resources.
This could again emphasize the importance of transboundary
aquifers in the world for both the natural and social