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Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 516;

China’s Water Utilization Efficiency: An Analysis with Environmental Considerations

Institute for Water Resource Information Statistic and Management, Hohai University, Changzhou 213022, China
Business Administration School, Hohai University, Changzhou 213022, China
College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40208, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 7 April 2016 / Revised: 20 May 2016 / Accepted: 24 May 2016 / Published: 28 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Full-Text   |   PDF [247 KB, uploaded 28 May 2016]


This paper estimates China’s water utilization efficiency using the directional distance function to take into account the environmental degradation affecting the economy. We further analyze the spatial correlation and the factors influencing the utilization efficiency using spatial panel data models. The results show that water utilization efficiency in China differs between provinces and regions. For example, water utilization efficiency in the eastern coastal provinces is significantly higher than that of inland provinces. The pattern of spatial auto-correlation Moran’s I index presents significant spatial auto-correlation and evident cluster tendencies in China’s inter-provincial water utilization. Factors that contribute to water utilization efficiency include economic development, technological progress, and economic openness. Negative factors affecting water utilization efficiency arise from industrial structure, government interference, and water resources endowment. In addition, the price of water resources is insignificant. The improvement of water utilization efficiency is essential to sustainable economic development. To raise the utilization efficiency of water resources, China should focus on transforming its industrial restructure, advancing technological development, enhancing economic openness, and encouraging entrepreneurial innovations. Moreover, establishing a mechanism to encourage water conservation and reduce wastewater pollution will further increase water utilization efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: water utilization efficiency; environmental degradation; spatial panel data models; directional distance function water utilization efficiency; environmental degradation; spatial panel data models; directional distance function
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ma, H.; Shi, C.; Chou, N.-T. China’s Water Utilization Efficiency: An Analysis with Environmental Considerations. Sustainability 2016, 8, 516.

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