Large stretches of land along the Chinese coast suffer from saline-alkali soils and intrusion of seawater into coastal aquifers. This poses an enormous challenge for agriculture as most arable crops prefer a non-salty environment and freshwater for irrigation. In order to overcome this issue in the Hebei province in the People's Republic of China, a workshop on “innovative patterns towards a productive and profitable coastal agriculture” was initiated by local researchers.
Around one hundred workshop participants from various countries shared experiences with these problems and discussed approaches on how to overcome these constraints in order to support sustainable agriculture e.g. by breeding salt-tolerant arable crops (e.g. salt-tolerant rice species) so called halophytes.
How can Subsurface Water Solutions support sustainable groundwater-based agriculture in coastal areas?
On behalf of the SUBSOL consortium, adelphi gave a keynote speech on Subsurface Water Solutions (SWSs). SWSs are technologies which enable (fresh) groundwater in ambient saline groundwater to be managed in a sophisticated way. This is particularly relevant in coastal areas where saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers poses a constraint for socioeconomic activities such as agriculture and drinking water production. adelphi’s expert Jonas Bunsen shared the SUBSOL consortium’s experiences on how SWSs can support sustainable groundwater-based agriculture in coastal areas along the Dutch coast.
Researchers as well as government representatives from Australia, China, Germany, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa and the United States attended the international workshop, which took place in Caofeidian in the Hebei Province of the People’s Republic of China. adelphi’s invitation to participate in the event came from the Hebei Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs and the Institute of Coastal Agriculture (ICA) of the Hebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences (HAAFS).