Fengxi Sponge City (China)




Demosite Location
Demosite Location


Demosite Location

Information about lithology/geochemistry:

The quaternary loose deposits are all within 300 meters underground, and the aquifer is made of sand, gravel pebbles and part of loess.

Main Description

  • Fengxi Sponge City is located in the Fenghe catchment, Shaanxi, northwestern arid area of China, with a total area of 143.17 km2 and a population of 169,308.The central 22.5 km2 is the sponge pilot area
  • Five core strategies to promote sponge city construction: 1. Based on source control and outflow regulation, make rainwater be purified and absorbed on-site as much as possible; 2. Make buildings and green spaces interactive integration, combine storage with drainage to prevent and govern waterlogging; 3. Watershed collaboration, consideration of both recent and future, and systematic management of water pollution; 4. Blend blue (river)-green (plant space) zones, and guarantee both flood control and ecology protection; 5. Make full use of unconventional water resources, reduce the use of conventional water, and solve the water shortage problem in northern China.
  • In a sponge city, stormwater is absorbed, stored, infiltrated, and purified when it rains. It endeavors to restore its pre-development ecohydrological regime and to reduce natural hazards within the urban basin.
  • water quality of Fenghe river and Weihe river crossing the pilot area respectively reaches class Ⅲ and Ⅳ (GB3838-2002,China) on the whole.

Conserve Ecohydrological processes in natural ecosystem


Enhance ecohydrological processes in novel ecosystem


Apply complementary Ecohydrological processes in high impacted system


This table presents the different categories of ecosystem services that ecosystem can provide, divided in:

Provisioning Services are ecosystem services that describe the material or energy outputs from ecosystems. They include food, water and other resources.

Food: Ecosystems provide the conditions for growing food. Food comes principally from managed agro-ecosystems but marine and freshwater systems or forests also provide food for human consumption. Wild foods from forests are often underestimated.

Fresh water: Ecosystems play a vital role in the global hydrological cycle, as they regulate the flow and purification of water. Vegetation and forests influence the quantity of water available locally.

Regulating Services are the services that ecosystems provide by acting as regulators eg. regulating the quality of air and soil or by providing flood and disease control.

Local climate and air quality: Trees provide shade whilst forests influence rainfall and water availability both locally and regionally. Trees or other plants also play an important role in regulating air quality by removing pollutants from the atmosphere.

Moderation of extreme events: Extreme weather events or natural hazards include floods, storms, tsunamis, avalanches and landslides. Ecosystems and living organisms create buffers against natural disasters, thereby preventing possible damage. For example, wetlands can soak up flood water whilst trees can stabilize slopes. Coral reefs and mangroves help protect coastlines from storm damage.

Waste-water treatment: Ecosystems such as wetlands filter both human and animal waste and act as a natural buffer to the surrounding environment. Through the biological activity of microorganisms in the soil, most waste is broken down. Thereby pathogens (disease causing microbes) are eliminated, and the level of nutrients and pollution is reduced.

Erosion prevention and maintenance of soil fertility: Soil erosion is a key factor in the process of land degradation and desertification. Vegetation cover provides a vital regulating service by preventing soil erosion. Soil fertility is essential for plant growth and agriculture and well functioning ecosystems supply the soil with nutrients required to support plant growth.

Ecosystem services "that are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services". These include services such as nutrient recycling, primary production and soil formation.

Habitats for species: Habitats provide everything that an individual plant or animal needs to survive: food; water; and shelter. Each ecosystem provides different habitats that can be essential for a species’ lifecycle. Migratory species including birds, fish, mammals and insects all depend upon different ecosystems during their movements.

Cultural Services corresponds nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.

Recreation and mental and physical health: Walking and playing sports in green space is not only a good form of physical exercise but also lets people relax. The role that green space plays in maintaining mental and physical health is increasingly being recognized, despite difficulties of measurement.


Demosite Location
Life zone
Warm Temperate
Lower montane
Dry forest

PPT(mm/yr): 520.0

T(ºc): 13.6

Elevation of demosite: 400.0 meters above sea level
Humidity: Sub-Humid
PETr (by year): 1.54

EH Principles

Quantification of the hydrological processes at catchment scale and mapping the impacts

Distribution of ecosystems and their relevant processes (ex: metabolism=water and nutrient uptake and retention; biomass production)

Ecological engineering (integration, dual regulation and biotechnologies in catchment scale for enhancement of ecological potential)


Low elevation greenbelt , rain garden, vegetation ditch, rainwater wetland, rainwater purification corridor, embankment and vegetation buffer zone, green roof, regulation pond, etc.

Ecohydrological Infrastructure
Hydrological Flow

Major Issues

  • Malodorous black river
  • Urban waterlogging
  • Water resources shortage
  • Habitat Loss
  • Loss of Retention capacity of vegetation
  • Water ecological fragility

Social ecohydrological system

EH Objectives

Cultural Heritage

EH Methodology

  • Investigation and observation

  • Positioning monitoring

  • Data collection and processing

  • Mathematical modeling and analysis.

Catchment Ecohydrological sub-system


  • Improve the living environment

  • Enjoy the body and mind

  • Construct a healthy and harmonious social-ecohydrological system.

  • Stakeholders

  • Government

  • Residents

  • Companies

  • Xi’an University of Technology, Chang’an University, Northwest A&F University, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology

  • Xianyang Meteorology

  • Xi‘an Highway Institute.

  • Catchment Sociological sub-system


    • Social investigation

    • Opinion poll

    • Observation and monitoring

    • Rainwater harvesting

    • Information sharing

    • Sponge concept promotion in campuses

    Expected Outcomes

    • Pollutants and floods control

    • Rainwater utilization

    • Ecosystem restoration

    • Landscape Management

    • Public space for residents

    Latest Results

    • More than 60% annual SS load in the sponge pilot area (22.5km2) is left on the land

    • More than 70% annual rainfall runoff is harvested or infiltrated in the soil, and waterlogging rarely occurs in the sponge pilot area (22.5km2)

    • The water quality of fenghe river and weihe river crossing the pilot area respectively reaches class Ⅲ and Ⅳ(GB3838-2002,China) on the whole.


    Prof. Dr. Jun XIA

    • xiajun666@whu.edu.cn
    • http://www.fcfx.gov.cn/info/iIndex.jsp?cat_id=10750
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences ,Beijing, China
    • http://www.fcfx.gov.cn/info/iIndex.jsp?cat_id=10750

    Prof. Dr. Jiake LI

    • xaut_ljk@163.com
    • http://www.fcfx.gov.cn/info/iIndex.jsp?cat_id=10750
    • Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an, China
    • http://www.fcfx.gov.cn/info/iIndex.jsp?cat_id=10750



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