JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2014, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (12): 2114-2126.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2014.12.012

• Resource Evaluation • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Temporal Variability and Influencing Factors of Sectoral Water Footprint in China

WANG Xiao-meng1, HUANG Kai1, YANG Shun-shun2, WANG Zi-yuan1, HU Ting-ting1   

  1. 1. College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China;
    2. Hunan Academy of Social Sciences, Changsha 410003, China
  • Received:2013-12-03 Revised:2014-04-13 Online:2014-12-20 Published:2014-12-20
  • About author:Resource Evaluation


Water is scarce in China. Although the total water amount is 23256.7 × 108 m3 in 2011, yet along with the increasing population, the per capita water resource is only 2093 m3. The low level of the water quantity would restrict the development of economy and society. The green and sustainable development means a new area to combine green economic with sustainable development. Therefore the water resource is the foundation of the Green and Sustainable development in China. This article studied the changes in China water footprint and its intensity during 1997-2007. Through the changes we analyzed the driving factors, and put forward some forecast for the water saving policy. This research was based on an economic method, Input-Output analysis method. The results show that: the total water footprint intensity declined by 9.1% (average annual rate of descent). However, the total water footprint was increased; the average annual growth rate is 14.2%. The proportion of total output virtual water footprint to the total water footprint was 12.0%, 14.6% and 22.5% in China in 1997, 2002 and 2007, higher than the total input. There are three factors made the total water footprint intensity declined, i.e., the development of water-saving technology, the implementation of water-saving policies and the trade links among industries. However the greatly improved economy, affected by macro-control policies, makes the water footprint increase. Combined with the total water footprint intensity, the results show that it is the unreasonable trading structure and expansive trading scale that lead to the water export in China and brings negative effects on water saving. Finally, there are five prior ways to establish new water saving policies: Explore the new way for the water saving technology (such as improving the prolificacy of water per consumption); resolve the difficult water saving problem by the sectoral connection and trading links; complete the water saving measures of developing sectors; adjust the import-export trading structure and implement the virtual water strategy at regional level.

Key words: water footprint, input-output analysis, virtual water trade

CLC Number: 

  • TV213.4