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Hidden Waters and Dragons in the Deep: The Fresh Water Crisis in China's Karst Regions

Yunnan Province is a microcosm of the challenges facing China’s vulnerable freshwater supply

The vast yet inaccessible underground waters in southwest Yunnan Province represent the front lines of China's freshwater crisis. Two openings in the earth, Shi Dong and Nan Dong caves, where the Yang Liu River slips into and out of the shadows, mark the point where a fluvial region rich with surface streams meets an unusual geologic formation of soluble rock layers known as a karst landscape. It is also a fateful human dividing line, a place where China's challenges with water scarcity, land use, and pollution come into clear focus.

Main Story

Hidden Waters, Dragons in the Deep: The Freshwater Crisis in China’s Karst Regions

Yunnan Province is a microcosm of the challenges facing China’s... 

Maps & Graphics

China’s Karst Region: Infographics

Infographics by Hannah Nester for Circle of Blue. World Karst... 

Stories

The Orphans of Yuang Shi Dong: China Cave Reflects Spiritual, Scientific Worlds

A stroll in the mountains connects young girls to a spiritual... 

Tracing Kunming, China’s Freshwater Hazards

New construction and ongoing industrial pollution pose extreme... 

Karst Landscapes in China, Across the Continents

From karst towers in Southwest China to the massive Mammoth Cave... 

‘Romeo and Juliet’ of China Captured in Karst

The natural and spiritual worlds collide in China’s Stone... 

Connecting Caves, Karst Landscapes and Climate Around the World

Environmental health expert Chris Groves explains how caves and... 

Video

Video: Following the Hidden Waters of Southwest China’s Karst Region

The vast yet inaccessible underground waters in southwest Yunnan... 

Photo Gallery

China Karst | Slideshow

Circle of Blue captures the life and land in Southwest China... 

China Karst Credits

Acknowledgments Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars China... 

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