Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2016, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (5): 334-341.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.05.003

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Analysis of Water Footprint of Production and Water Stress in China

GE Liqiang1, 2, XIE Gaodi2, *, LI Shimei3, CHENG Yanpei1, LUO Zhihai4   

  1. 1. Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050061, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. College of Landscape Architecture and Forestry, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China;
    4. Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn TR109EZ, UK
  • Received:2016-01-08 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • Contact: XIE Gaodi. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0503403); Projects of China geological survey (DD20160106)


Water footprint of production can be used to identify pressure on national or regional water resources generated by production activities. Water stress is defined as the ratio of water use (the difference between a regional water footprint of production and a green water footprint) to renewable water resources available in a country or region. Water stress can be used to identify pressure on national or regional water resources generated by production activities. This paper estimates the water footprint of production and the water stress in China during the years 1985-2009. The result shows that China’s water footprint of production increased from 781.58 × 109 m3 in 1985 to 1109.76 × 109 m3 in 2009. Mega-cities and regions with less agriculture production due to local climatic conditions (Tibet and Qinghai) had lower water footprint of production, while the provinces (Henan, Shandong) with higher agriculture production had higher footprint. Provinces with severe water stress increased from 6 in 1985 to 9 in 2009. High to severe water stress exists mainly in mega-cities and agricultural areas located in the downstream areas of the Yellow River and the Yangtze River in North and Central China. The outlook for water resources pressure in China is not optimistic, with areas of stress expanding from northern to southern of China.

Key words: blue water footprint, China, green water footprint, grey water footprint, water footprint of production, water stress