Aiming at integrated management for different types of watersheds, this undertaking carries out research activities ranging from flood disaster risk analysis and minimization, water quality survey, contamination process investigation, water use efficiency enhancement and water reuse, assessment of drinking water safety in rural areas of developing countries, valuation of ecosystem services, wetland-related culture and music, and legal systems for wetland conservation and wise use. The target sites include wet region, arid and semi-arid regions, coastal and inland regions, urbanized and rural areas, developed and developing regions. These works can be characterized as cross-disciplinary, cross-scale and cross-culture as well. They are also characterized as shedding new light on the complexity of environmental issues and solution-oriented.
Basin Environmental Studies
Global Environmental Policy
Environmental Administration, Environmental Law
Water resource management, Agriculture, Water and Society
The industrial revolution of 19th century is the starting point for both rich material life and environmental changes. However, current environmental literature provides insufficient information and analysis on how today’s environmental state was shaped by countermeasures to pollution taken in the last century. Such a look back is crucial to better understand and predict how policy and countermeasure choices today may shape the world in the future. Following this line of reasoning, the present work conducted a post audit on the long-term consequence of a countermeasure against a major heavy metal pollution case caused by the operation of the Ashio Copper Mine in Japan. It examined this issue from both environmental and societal perspectives by document analysis, field investigation on the heavy metal concentration in the soils of a heavy mental catchment area and questionnaire survey on the public knowledge with regard to the copper mining contamination case as well. It shed new light on how environment may evolve via the interaction with human activities by identifying drivers behind major changes. It also revealed a gap between the reality and the public perception towards the consequence of the copper contamination. Such insights will deepen the discussion on what is sustainability and motivate further study to pursue sustainable development.
Huang, G., Fu, Y., Xue, H., Li, H.: A Century-long Ex-post Evaluation of a Countermeasure for a Serious Pollution Problem in Japan, Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 10(12), 4385; doi:10.3390/su10124385.
Sakata Lagoon is a freshwater lake and registered as a Ramsar wetland in Japan in 1996. Every year, 3,000~5,000 tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) fly to Sakata Lagoon for wintering beginning in November each year, which accounts for 5~10% of the total number of swans flying to Japan. The present work investigates seasonal change of chemical water quality parameters and phytoplankton community compositions. It is intended to shed new light on how the environment of a wetland might be affected by the wintering of massive migratory waterfowl.
As water is utilized in various ways across the whole spectrum of human life, better understanding of water management effectiveness and sharing of information and experience are crucial for achieving sustainability from a water perspective. However, water management effectiveness in the long term has been insufficiently studied due partially to the lack of long term data and methodology for long term assessment. The present study presents a case study, dealing with the environmental restoration of a once listed as the worst lake in Japan for 27 years through a water diversion project. It highlights the need and importance of evaluating water management practice from both chemical and biological dimensions for its long-term effectiveness. By combining field surveys of phytoplankton communities and E. coli at multiple locations in the lake in different seasons and data analysis of long term change of chemical parameters of water quality, it revealed that although the diversion project led to a shift in phytoplankton community structure from being blue-green algae dominated to diatom dominated, the eutrophic level remains high and the diatom-dominated phytoplankton community structure is probably the factor hindering the true recovery of the ecosystem in the lake. Wording differently, the diversion operation alleviated the symptom of eutrophication but did not solve the problem. A message form the present study is that such a multi-dimensional assessment approach allows the explanation of water management effectiveness in ecological relevance and identification of the direction for further improvement work. Therefore, it also serves as a call for the further development of multi-dimensional assessment approaches.
Huang G.W., Yu W., Fan K.: Evaluation of Water Management Effectiveness by a Multi-dimensional Approach, Journal of Environmental Informatics Letter, in press.
The United States of America, Republic of Korea and Taiwan have Wetland Conservation Act for the protection and wise use of wetlands. Japan does not have a law specifying the purpose of the law to preserve and restore wetlands. Through case studies from engineering perspective, this paper is intended to address the need to establish a comprehensive wetland law in Japan.
Nitrate contamination of groundwater is increasingly becoming a global concern due to its potential risks for human health. Fertilizer overuse is often thought to be the cause and a reduction in fertilizer use considered the most effective way of reducing contamination. The present study, however, presents the case of Zhangye City, Gansu Province, China, in which the nitrate contamination of underground sources of drinking water resulted from a combination of fertilizer overuse and a mismatch between the geological structure of farmland and the crop type cultivated upon it. In addition, a market-induced driver was identified for its role in accelerating the contamination process. This new evidence emphasizes that environmental pollution is often driven by multiple factors of great complexity, demonstrating that causes of environmental problems should be addressed and analyzed with a cross-sectoral perspective. Furthermore, this case revealed that Chinese cabbages cultivated in a drought-stressed region contained very high nitrate concentrations that exceeded Acceptable Daily Intake level, whereas tomatoes and cucumbers from the same region were shown to contain nitrate levels within the safe range. These findings are useful for developing a new policy framework for environmentally sound agricultural planning.
Huang, G., Liu, H., Li, X., Ma, M.: Exploring Drivers of Nitrate Contamination of Drinking Water in an Arid Region of China, Journal of Environmental Informatics, 33(7):105-112, 2019.
The present study conducted field survey of water quality along the Chao Phraya River during the past three years. The main objective was to better understand the spatial-temporal variations of water quality in relation to season and channel morphology. It assessed the water quality in terms of chemical parameters, bacterial and phytoplankton. The results revealed a duality of seasonal effect for nutrients. Rainy season degraded the water quality by increasing nutrient concentration in the waterway in the beginning but cleaned it up by dilution in the end. However, this duality did not apply to Escherichia coli (E. coli), which showed the highest level during the second half of rainy season and displayed a sag curve variation pattern along the mainstream. Another duality found by this study is that there was no statistically significant difference in water quality in terms of chemical parameters between a river bend and the straight channel shortcutting the bend, but significant differences in the level of E. coli and phytoplankton community structure was observed between the two. Of particular note, the present study revealed a coexistence of a saproxenous species (algae found in clean water) with a harmful species in the bend river reach.
Huang, G., Xue, H. Liu, H., Ekkawatpanit, C., Sukhapunnapha, T.: Duality of Seasonal Effect and River Bend in Relation to Water Quality in the Chao Phraya River, Water, 11(4), 656;
For the conservation of wetland ecological environments, Taiwan implemented the Wetland Conservation Act in 2013. This study surveyed residents of Taiwan about the Gaomei Wetland in Taiwan using conjoint analysis. The objective of this research is to examine residents' willingness to pay for improving the environment of the Gaomei Wetland. The results show that approximately 70% of respondents were willing to pay to improve the wetland environment, with a higher proportion of females willing to pay than males, and a higher proportion of young people willing to pay than older people. Those who were not willing to pay believed that protecting the wetlands should be the government's responsibility. It was also found that more than half of the respondents interviewed did not know about the Wetland Conservation Act.
Guangwei Huang: Chapter 1: New Frontier in Flood Risk Management, Recent Advances in Flood Risk Management, IntechOpen, 2019.
Guangwei Huang, Zhengjian Shen: Urban Planning and Water-related Disaster Management, Springer. 2018.
Huang G.: Enhancing Dialogue between Flood Risk Management and Road Engineering Sectors for Flood Risk Reduction, Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1773-1788.
Xue, H, Sayama, T., Takara, T., He, B., Huang, G., Duan, W.: Non-point source pollution estimation in the Pingqiao River Basin, China, using a spatial hydrograph-separation approach, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 2019.
Rao, K., Zhang, X., Yi, X., Li, Z., Wang, P., Huang, G., Guo, X.: Interactive effects of environmental factors on phytoplankton communities and benthic nutrient interactions in a shallow lake and adjoining rivers in China, Science of The Total Environment, Vol., 619–620, 1661-1672, 2018.