Assessing regional virtual water flows and water footprints in the Yellow River Basin, China:A consumption based approach

Feng, Kuishuang, Siu, Yim Ling, Guan, Dabo and Hubacek, Klaus (2012) Assessing regional virtual water flows and water footprints in the Yellow River Basin, China:A consumption based approach. Applied Geography, 32 (2). pp. 691-701. ISSN 0143-6228

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Abstract

The Yellow River, the second longest river in China, is facing increasing water scarcity due to rising water consumption of a fast growing economy and an increasingly urbanized population with water-intensive consumption patterns. The Yellow River Basin (YRB) is divided into three regions: the upper, middle and lower reaches; each with very different characteristics in terms of water resources, economic structure and household income and consumption patterns. Virtual water has been recognised as a potentially useful concept for redistributing water from water-rich to water-poor regions. In this study, we develop a Multi-Regional Input-Output model (MRIO) to assess the regional virtual water flows between the three reaches of the basin and the rest of China distinguishing green and blue water, as well as rural and urban household water footprints. Results show that all three reaches are net virtual water exporter, i.e. production and consumption activities outside the basin also put pressure on the water resources in the YRB. The results suggest a reduction of the export of virtual blue water that could instead be used for producing higher value added but lower water-intensive goods. In particular, the lower reach as the most water scarce region in the basin should increase the import of water intensive goods, such as irrigated crops and processed food products, from other more water abundant regions such as the South of China. Thus, trading virtual water can help sustain the economic growth of the regions within the basin thus easing the pressure from water shortage. In addition, there is a huge gap between urban and rural household water footprints in the basin. The average urban household's water footprint is more than double the water footprint of a rural household in the basin. This is due to the higher urban household consumption of water-intensive goods and services, such as processed food products, wearing apparel and footwear, hotel and catering services and electricity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: china,consumption based accounting,input-output analysis,supply chains,virtual water flow,water footprints,water scarcity,yellow river,forestry,tourism, leisure and hospitality management,environmental science(all),geography, planning and development ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1107
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 23:09
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2020 00:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59519
DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.08.004

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