Next Article in Journal
Assessment of Suitable Areas for Home Gardens for Irrigation Potential, Water Availability, and Water-Lifting Technologies
Next Article in Special Issue
Surface Water Quality Evaluation Based on a Game Theory-Based Cloud Model
Previous Article in Journal
Reference Evapotranspiration Variation Analysis and Its Approaches Evaluation of 13 Empirical Models in Sub-Humid and Humid Regions: A Case Study of the Huai River Basin, Eastern China
Previous Article in Special Issue
Comprehensive Forecast of Urban Water-Energy Demand Based on a Neural Network Model
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Water 2018, 10(4), 494;

Trends and Consumption Structures of China’s Blue and Grey Water Footprint

Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Hydrological Cycle and Sponge City Technology, College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, XinJieKouWai St., HaiDian District, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality: A Component of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2159 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]   |  


Water footprint has become a common method to study the water resources utilization in recent years. By using input–output analysis and dilution theory, the internal water footprint, blue water footprint and grey water footprint of China from 2002 to 2012 were estimated, and the consumption structure of water footprint and virtual water trade were analyzed. The results show: (1) From 2002 to 2012, the average annual internal water footprint was 3.83 trillion m3 in China, of which the blue water footprint was 0.25 trillion m3, and the grey water footprint was 3.58 trillion m3 (with Grade III water standard accounting); both the internal water footprint and grey water footprint experienced decreasing trends from 2002 to 2012, except for a dramatic increase in 2010; (2) Average annual virtual blue water footprint was the greatest in agriculture (39.2%), while tertiary industry (27.5%) and food and tobacco processing (23.7%) were the top two highest for average annual virtual grey water footprint; (3) Virtual blue water footprint in most sectors showed increasing trends due to the increase of final demand, while virtual grey water footprint in most sectors showed decreasing trends due to the decreases of total return water coefficients and conversion coefficients of virtual grey water footprint; (4) For water resources, China was self-reliant: the water used for producing the products and services to meet domestic consumption was taken domestically; meanwhile, China exported virtual water to other countries, which aggravated the water stress in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; input–output method; virtual water; water resources water footprint; input–output method; virtual water; water resources

Figure 1

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).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, H.; Yang, Y. Trends and Consumption Structures of China’s Blue and Grey Water Footprint. Water 2018, 10, 494.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Water EISSN 2073-4441 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top