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Environment, technology and sustainability: the development and management of well-irrigation in Guanzhong Plain in Qing China


This paper presents a case study of the well irrigation in Guanzhong Plain during the Qing dynasty. The paper analyses the scales and results of well irrigation campaigns sponsored by the government in the mid-eighteen century and the late nineteenth century. Limited by the natural environment and technical conditions, the efficiency of well irrigation is poor. Farmers’ choices also affect the development of well irrigation. Moreover, a lack of management led to the unsustainable use of groundwater. Historical groundwater policies were mainly aimed at increasing agricultural production. Policies should be made according to local conditions. It is important to ensure the sustainable development of groundwater.

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