Assessment of regional trade and virtual water flows in China

Dabo Guan, Klaus Hubacek*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    276 Citaten (Scopus)


    The success of China's economic development has left deep marks on resource availability and quality. Some regions in China are relatively poor with regards to water resources. This problem is exacerbated by economic growth. Flourishing trade activities on both domestic and international levels have resulted in significant amounts of water withdrawal and water pollution. Hence the goal of this paper is to evaluate the current inter-regional trade structure and its effects on water consumption and pollution via 'virtual water flows'. Virtual water is the water embedded in products and used in the whole production chain, and that is traded between regions or exported to other countries. For this assessment of trade flows and effects on water resources, we have developed an extended regional input-output model for eight hydro-economic regions in China to account for virtual water flows between North and South China. The findings show that the current trade structure in China is not very favorable with regards to water resource allocation and efficiency. North China as a water scarce region virtually exports about 5% of its total available freshwater resources while accepting large amounts of wastewater for other regions' consumption. By contrast, South China a region with abundant water resources is virtually importing water from other regions while their imports are creating waste water polluting other regions' hydro-ecosystems. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)159-170
    Aantal pagina's12
    TijdschriftEcological Economics
    Nummer van het tijdschrift1
    StatusPublished - 15-feb-2007

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