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Quantity and quality of China's water from demand perspectives

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journal contribution
posted on 22.01.2020, 09:44 by Xian Li, Yuli Shan, Zongyong Zhang, Lili Yang, Jing Meng, Dabo Guan
China is confronted with an unprecedented water crisis regarding its quantity and quality. In this study, we quantified the dynamics of China’s embodied water use and chemical oxygen demand (COD) discharge from 2010 to 2015. The analysis was conducted with the latest available water use data across sectors in primary, secondary and tertiary industries and input–output models. The results showed that(1)China’s water crisis was alleviated under urbanisation. Urban consumption occupied the largest percentages(over 30%) of embodied water use and COD discharge, but embodied water intensities in urban consumption were far lower than those in rural consumption. (2) The ‘new normal’ phase witnessed the optimisation of China’s water use structures. Embodied water use in light-manufacturing and tertiary sectors increased while those in heavy-manufacturing sectors(except chemicals and transport equipment) dropped. (3) Transformation of China’s international market brought positive effects on its domestic water use. China’s water use (116–80 billion tonnes(Bts))9 and COD discharge (3.95–2.22 million tonnes(Mts)) embodied in export tremendously decreased while its total export values(11–25 trillion CNY)soared. Furthermore, embodied water use and COD discharge in relatively low-end sectors, such as textile, started to transfer from international to domestic markets when a part of China’s production activities had been relocated to other developing countries.

Funding

National Key R & D Programme of China (2016 YFA0602604, 2018 YFC0807000),

National Natural Science Foundation of China (41629501, 71533005)

Chinese Academy of Engineering (2017-ZD-15-07)

UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NE/N00714X/1, NE/ P019900/1)

Economic and Social Research Council (ES/L016028/1)

Royal Academy of Engineering (UKCIAPP/425)

British Academy (NAFR2180103, NAFR2180104)

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Environmental Research Letters

Volume

14

Issue

12

Publisher

IOP Publishing Ltd

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by IOP under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

16/10/2019

Publication date

2019-11-19

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

1748-9326

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Lili Yang Deposit date: 20 January 2020

Article number

124004

Licence

Exports