Nowadays, an increasing shortage of water resources intensifies the contradiction among different water-using sectors in the social-economic-ecological complex system. To adjust water used configuration in a holistic framework, a water use system (WUS) model was constructed with inclusive five water-using sectors including aquatic systems, primary industry, secondary industry, tertiary industry and resident consumption. The Baiyangdian Basin in Northern China was used as a case area. Six years data from 2008 to 2013 were used to quantify the model. By introducing the ecological network analysis (EAN), we holistically assessed the WUS under different water use configuration. System organization, activities and development degree, etc.
were used to character the prosperities of the water use system. Results indicate that the WUS encountered a lasting degradation in system organization (AMI index decreased in an annual rate of 0.6%) and development degree though with an ascending system activities in the studies periods (with an annual growth rate of 11.3%). Scenario analysis results suggest several potential ways to achieve a better water use configuration in this basin, such as environmental and ecological restoration, water-saving technology and water recycling rate, etc.
The current study may provide ways to optimize water use structure to balance the interests of different sectors both ecologically and economically.
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