Abstract Karst land collapse is a geological hazard caused mainly by human activities such as the pumping of ground water. The present study is aimed at determining a management strategy to minimize the risk of karst land collapse in the urban area of Tangshan, China. A method of groundwater management for multi-aquifer systems with groundwater confined and unconfined interchange properties has been developed. A groundwater simulation model and a management model are constructed for the studied area. The data used by the simulation and management models include the geometry of the aquifer systems, the parameters of hydrogeology, the distribution of recharge, and discharge in the simulation period and the historical water table elevations. The results of the model calculations show that the total balance between recharge and discharge for both Quaternary and bedrock aquifers is 4.7 × 106 m 3 in the period from November 1989 to October 1990. The optimal annual average pumping rate from the underlying bedrock aquifer is some 25.8 × 10 6 m 3, which is 54.4% of that which was pumped out of the aquifer in the hydrological year of 1990. If the management plan is carried out, the groundwater level in the bedrock aquifer will recover its confined state in most of the areas at risk of land collapse. This is the most resistant state to collapse in terms of groundwater flow.