State of water environmental issues
Among the 194 key cities and regions monitored, 61 cities or regions (31.4%) had experienced rising ground water levels, 60 cities or regions (which were 31.0% of all cities and regions monitored, and were 19% less than last year) had experienced falling ground water levels, and 73 cities and regions (37.6%) had had stable ground water levels.
In 2003, the quality of groundwater had been generally stable, but there was a trend of deterioration. The ground water of most cities and regions monitored had been polluted by point or area sources. The polluted areas were mostly populous and highly industrialized downtown areas of cities. The indicators exceeding standards were mineral content, total hardness, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia nitrogen, iron, manganese, chlorides, sulfates, pH, fluorides, and phenols, etc. Iron, manganese, and three nitrogens pollutants were outstanding problems in almost all the regions across the country. Pollution caused by high mineral content, total hardness, and nitrates was significant, mostly in the northeastern, northern, eastern, southern and northwestern parts of the country.
Reference: Report on the State of the Environment of China (2003) State Environmental Protection Administration of China