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An Input--Output Analysis Of Trends In Virtual Water Trade And The Impact On Water Resources And Uses In China


  • Zhuoying Zhang
  • Minjun Shi
  • Hong Yang
  • Ashok Chapagain


This study investigates the impacts of China's international trade on its water resources and uses between 2002 and 2007. The results show a significant increase in water use efficiency in most sectors, especially the manufacturing sectors. However, the total net virtual water exported increased by about 75%, from 39.0 × 10-super-9 m-super-3 to 68.2 × 10-super-9 m-super-3. The ratio of net virtual water exports to the total water resources of the country increased from 1.8% to 3.1%. In water-scarce North China, the ratio increased from 3.6% to 5.1%, which indicates a growing water resources pressure. The share of the net virtual water exports in the total water use in China increased from 7% to 12%. The results suggest that China's economic gains from intensifying international trade came with high costs regarding its water resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhuoying Zhang & Minjun Shi & Hong Yang & Ashok Chapagain, 2011. "An Input--Output Analysis Of Trends In Virtual Water Trade And The Impact On Water Resources And Uses In China," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 431-446, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecsysr:v:23:y:2011:i:4:p:431-446
    DOI: 10.1080/09535314.2011.636733

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    Cited by:

    1. Guangyao Deng & Liujuan Wang & Yanan Song, 2015. "Effect of Variation of Water-Use Efficiency on Structure of Virtual Water Trade - Analysis Based on Input–Output Model," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 29(8), pages 2947-2965, June.
    2. Okadera, Tomohiro & Geng, Yong & Fujita, Tsuyoshi & Dong, Huijuan & Liu, Zhu & Yoshida, Noboru & Kanazawa, Takaaki, 2015. "Evaluating the water footprint of the energy supply of Liaoning Province, China: A regional input–output analysis approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 148-157.
    3. Hawkins, Jacob & Ma, Chunbo & Schilizzi, Steven & Zhang, Fan, 2015. "Promises and pitfalls in environmentally extended input–output analysis for China: A survey of the literature," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 81-88.
    4. Okadera, Tomohiro & Chontanawat, Jaruwan & Gheewala, Shabbir H., 2014. "Water footprint for energy production and supply in Thailand," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 49-56.
    5. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:148-156 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Cortés-Borda, D. & Guillén-Gosálbez, G. & Jiménez, L., 2015. "Assessment of nuclear energy embodied in international trade following a world multi-regional input–output approach," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 91-101.

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