JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2013, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (7): 1169-1178.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2013.07.009

• Resources Evaluation • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Historical Trend of Grey Water Footprint of Beijing, China

ZENG Zhao, LIU Jun-guo   

  1. School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2011-11-15 Revised:2013-03-25 Online:2013-07-20 Published:2013-07-20


Beijing is an international metropolis with serious shortage of water resources. Water scarcity in addition to serious water pollution has made water a major constraint for future socio-economic development and ecological security. In this study, we use grey water footprint as an indicator to quantify the effects of water pollution on the amount of freshwater resources from agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors in Beijing during 1995-2009. These effects are presented as the volume of water that is needed to dilute the water pollutants. The results show that: 1) Grey water footprint of Beijing in 2009 is 4.95 billion m3/a, about 2.3 times that of the total amount of water resources in the same year; 2) domestic sector has the largest grey water footprint, followed by agricultural. Industrial sector has the smallest grey water footprint; 3) the grey water footprint of Beijing has declined year by year. Since 1995, the grey water footprints of agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors have decreased by 45%, 93% and 62%, respectively; and 4) although the grey water footprint of Beijing has dropped gradually, the ratio of water bodies reaching water quality standard has shown a decreasing trend. The grey water footprint is much higher than the amount of water resources, leading to accumulation of pollutants in the water bodies. It is not possible to dilute such a large amount of pollutants emitted into natural water bodies only by relying on the self-purification capacity of water bodies. So the residual grey water footprint has a positive sign and the accumulation of residual grey water footprint has increased year by year. As a result, water quality continues to deteriorate. The growth of the accumulation of residual grey water footprint explains the reasons why the quality of water becomes worse even with decreasing grey water footprint. The grey water footprint should be controlled in order to improve the aquatic environment in the Beijing city.

Key words: grey water footprint, water scarcity, water resources, water pollution, Beijing

CLC Number: 

  • X502