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Quantity and quality of China's water from demand perspectives

Li, X; Shan, Y; Zhang, Z; Yang, L; Meng, J; Guan, D; (2019) Quantity and quality of China's water from demand perspectives. Environmental Research Letters , 14 (12) , Article 124004. 10.1088/1748-9326/ab4e54. Green open access

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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 2010-2015. 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 show 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)) 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 have been relocated to other developing countries.

Type: Article
Title: Quantity and quality of China's water from demand perspectives
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab4e54
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab4e54
Language: English
Additional information: Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Keywords: Embodied water use, Embodied COD discharge, Input-output analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084078
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