Quantitative assessment of ecological compensation for groundwater overexploitation based on emergy theory

  • Cuimei Lv
  • Minhua LingEmail author
  • Zening Wu
  • Xi Guo
  • Qianqian Cao
Original Paper


Ecological compensation is an important economic tool for the control and management of ecological and environmental problems. The accurate assessment of the amount of compensation is the key factor in the implementation of ecological compensation schemes. However, due to the complex and various ecological and environmental problems caused by groundwater overexploitation, there is no scientific quantitative method. Emergy theory is a new method to quantitatively study the relationship between environmental resources and social economy. Based on the literature review of ecological compensation for groundwater overexploitation, this paper puts forward a new evaluation method for using emergy loss as groundwater overexploitation ecological compensation. The emergy system diagram of environmental problems caused by overexploitation of groundwater is constructed. And the calculation methods of the emergy loss of eco-environmental problems caused by groundwater overexploitation, such as land subsidence (collapse), salt water intrusion, surface runoff reduction, vegetation deterioration, and groundwater pollution, were presented, respectively. Taking Zhengzhou as an example, the total amount of ecological compensation for groundwater overexploitation in 2014 was equivalent to 853 × 106 US dollars. The largest loss of land subsidence is 816 × 106 US dollars, which accounts for 95.64% of the total loss. It can be seen that land subsidence is the most serious in the eco-environmental problems caused by overexploitation of groundwater in Zhengzhou.


Groundwater overexploitation Ecological compensation Emergy theory 



This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. NSCF-51609216 and NSCF-51739009) and Henan natural science foundation (No. 182300410139). The authors are grateful to colleagues and friends who shared their meteorological and hydrological data with us. We also thank three reviewers for insightful comments that improved an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Water Conservancy and EnvironmentZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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