Karst Spring Protection for the Sustainable and Healthy Living: The Examples of Niangziguan Spring and Shuishentang Spring in Shanxi, China

  • Xiaodong He
  • Jianhua WuEmail author
  • Wenyu Guo
S.I. : Drinking Water Quality and Public Health


The karst springs, among which the Niangziguan spring and the Shuishentang spring are two typical ones, account for 24% of the total water resources in Shanxi, China and play an important role in the economic and social development of Shanxi Province. However, the spring discharge has sharply declined due to climate change and increasing anthropogenic activities. In this study, the Mann–Kendall trend test was used to analyze the trend of precipitation and spring discharge in Niangziguan spring and Shuishentang spring. Physicochemical data were also collected to delineate the karst groundwater quality variations in the two karst springs. The results show that both the precipitation and the spring discharge show a declining trend in Niangziguan spring and Shuishentang spring. Climate change is one of the critical factors that cause spring discharge attenuation. The impacts of human activities on the springs are becoming increasingly prominent, resulting in various water eco-environmental problems. TDS, TH, SO42−, Cl, NH4+ all show increasing trend in Niangziguan spring, and the increasing concentrations of TDS and SO42− are posing a serious threat to the safety of drinking water. In Shuishentang spring, CODMn, NO3, and NO2 present increasing trend caused by domestic sewage and agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. Anthropogenic activities such as coal mining and quarrying, urbanization, and groundwater over exploitation should be regulated to protect the karst spring and to ensure the safety of water supply for residents.


Karst spring Groundwater resources Mann–Kendall trend test Groundwater pollution Sustainable development 



Financial support has been received from various agencies for the research presented in this paper: The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41502234, 41602238, 41572236 and 41761144059), the Research Funds for Young Stars in Science and Technology of Shaanxi Province (2016KJXX-29), the Special Funds for Basic Scientific Research of Central Colleges (300102298301), the Fok Ying Tong Education Foundation (161098), the General Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M590911 and 2015M580804), the Special Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017T100719 and 2016T90878), the Special Financial Grant from the Shaanxi Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016BSHTDZZ03 and 2015BSHTDZZ09), and the Ten Thousand Talent Program. We are also very grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their useful and constructive comments.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringChang’an UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Subsurface Hydrology and Ecological Effects in Arid Region of the Ministry of EducationChang’an UniversityXi’anChina

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