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      Blue and Green Water Footprint Assessment for China—A Multi-Region Input–Output Approach

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      Sustainability

      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          Research on blue and green water footprints (WF) for China has typically been carried out based on bottom-up and top-down approach using a single-region input–output table. However, this research typically lacks detail on the sectoral interrelationships which exist between China and its trading partners in other countries/regions of the world. Here, a multi-region input–output approach using the WIOD database was applied to quantify the blue and green WF for China in 2009. The quantification was conducted from both production (WFP) and consumption (WFC) perspectives. The results show that the total WFP for China in 2009 was 1152.2 km3, second only to India. At 1070.9 km3, China had the largest WFC volume in the world. The internal WF was 953.5 km3, taking the substantial share for both the WFC and WFP. Overall, China’s trade resulted in a net export of 53.5 km3 virtual water. In contrast, the agricultural sector resulted in a net import of 70.6 km3 virtual water to China, with United States, Brazil, and Canada acting as major suppliers. This study suggests that quantifying the WF of China at global level through a MRIO framework is a necessary step towards achieving sustainability for China’s water management.

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          Most cited references 41

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          CO2Embodied in International Trade with Implications for Global Climate Policy

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            A review of recent multi-region input–output models used for consumption-based emission and resource accounting

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              Evolution of the global virtual water trade network.

              Global freshwater resources are under increasing pressure from economic development, population growth, and climate change. The international trade of water-intensive products (e.g., agricultural commodities) or virtual water trade has been suggested as a way to save water globally. We focus on the virtual water trade network associated with international food trade built with annual trade data and annual modeled virtual water content. The evolution of this network from 1986 to 2007 is analyzed and linked to trade policies, socioeconomic circumstances, and agricultural efficiency. We find that the number of trade connections and the volume of water associated with global food trade more than doubled in 22 years. Despite this growth, constant organizational features were observed in the network. However, both regional and national virtual water trade patterns significantly changed. Indeed, Asia increased its virtual water imports by more than 170%, switching from North America to South America as its main partner, whereas North America oriented to a growing intraregional trade. A dramatic rise in China's virtual water imports is associated with its increased soy imports after a domestic policy shift in 2000. Significantly, this shift has led the global soy market to save water on a global scale, but it also relies on expanding soy production in Brazil, which contributes to deforestation in the Amazon. We find that the international food trade has led to enhanced savings in global water resources over time, indicating its growing efficiency in terms of global water use.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                SUSTDE
                Sustainability
                Sustainability
                MDPI AG
                2071-1050
                August 2018
                August 09 2018
                : 10
                : 8
                : 2822
                Article
                10.3390/su10082822
                © 2018
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/8/2822

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