Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 729–739 | Cite as

Shallow groundwater dynamics and origin of salinity at two sites in salinated and water-deficient region of North China Plain, China

  • Shiqin Wang
  • Xianfang SongEmail author
  • Qinxue Wang
  • Guoqiang Xiao
  • Zhimin Wang
  • Xin Liu
  • Peng Wang
Original Article


Large salinated areas are distributed in the middle and east of the North China Plain (NCP), where the fresh water shortage is serious. In this study, two sites in Cangzhou (CZ) and Hengshui (HS) of Hebei Province were selected to study the dynamics of shallow groundwater level and salinity. Electrical conductivity (EC) of groundwater was combined with the isotope compositions of δ18O and δ2H to identify the origin of salinity. Results showed that the dynamics of groundwater level at both sites were mainly controlled by precipitation and evaporation. Soil texture and structure played a significant role in the dynamics of salinity. The summer precipitation diluted the EC of groundwater at the HS site with homogeneous soil of sand loam, suggesting the larger infiltration rate; however, it did not dilute the EC at the CZ site with heterogeneous soil of sand loam and silt loam, suggesting that the summer precipitation could not recharge the groundwater directly. In winter, the EC decreased rapidly due to the temperature gradient underground if the groundwater was above the threshold level (at least 3 m below the ground surface) after the rainy season. Isotopes of δ18O and δ2H showed that precipitation was the major recharge source for the groundwater at the two sites. The salt mainly comes from the dissolution of soil or rock at the CZ site. While, the evaporation effect was strong at the HS site leading to the increase of the salt concentration.


Shallow groundwater level Salinity Temperature gradient Stable isotopes North China Plain 



The authors would like to thank engineers Liu Caitang, Li Lin, and Dr. Li Fadong who helped to set up the monitoring instruments at the experimental site, Chen Baogen who helped us to collect the data, and Zhang Wenmin, Qi Zhifang, Wu Jingfen, He Jie, et al., who all helped to observe the data and collect the samples. In particular, Professor Yu Jingjie and Professor Zhang Yinghua provided constructive suggestions on this research. The authors would also like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This research was financial supported by the National Natural Funds Project “Water cycle study on the Taihang Mountain areas based on the isotope technology and water chemical” (40671034) and the corporation project between China and Japan “The observation of groundwater level in North China Plain”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shiqin Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xianfang Song
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qinxue Wang
    • 3
  • Guoqiang Xiao
    • 4
  • Zhimin Wang
    • 1
  • Xin Liu
    • 1
  • Peng Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface ProcessesInstitute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of HorticultureChiba UniversityMatsudoJapan
  3. 3.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Tianjin Institute of Geology and Mineral ResourcesTianjinChina

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