The technology that pumps Chinas water

As China's groundwater usage has expanded, the characteristics of pumps used for shallow and deep wells have also evolved. In 1995, the average size of the pump used on a shallow well was 3 in., drawing 6.9 kW of power with a lift of 28 m. The average shallow well pump discharged about 32 m3/h. By 2004, the average pump increased marginally in size (to 3.1 in.), power (to 7.2 kW), lift (31 m) and discharge (to 37.5 m3/h).

The rate of change of deep well pumps was greater than that of shallow ones. In 1995, the average deep pump was 3.9 in. in diameter, drew 13.5 kW of power, had a lift of 53 m and discharged 61.2 m3/h. By 2004, both power and lift had increased (to 14.1 and 58, respectively). Both diameter and discharge, however, decreased slightly (to 3.7 and 60.9, respectively).12

The evolution of pump technology was mostly being driven by new technologies that were coming on the market and the demand for more powerful pumps. When we asked villages if they had changed the pumping technology type between 1995 and 2004, more than one quarter of villages using groundwater in 2004 responded that they had. Interestingly, although pumps are generally getting bigger and more powerful, they are not necessarily increasing in price. In fact, there is evidence that the price of pumps in China is falling. While we cannot pinpoint the reason why, it is likely due to an increase in economy of scale over the last decade. Our data show a general trend in purchasing location from government (state-owned) to private pump dealers.

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