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Open AccessArticle

Inter-Regional Agricultural Virtual Water Flow in China Based on Volumetric and Impact-Oriented Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) Approach

1
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Beijing Key Laboratory of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Materials Science & Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
3
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010251
Received: 8 December 2019 / Revised: 5 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
Virtual water trading is an effective strategy to alleviate water shortage. Several different methods have been developed to achieve quantitative description and evaluation of virtual water, which can be broadly divided into volumetric and impact-oriented water footprint approaches. The former focuses on the consumption of water resources, while the latter puts greater emphasis on assessing the water use impacts. Based on the volumetric and impact-oriented water footprint, this paper conducted a comprehensive study on the virtual water flow of agricultural products among regions in China. The results show that different water footprint evaluation methods have different tendencies in evaluating virtual water flow. Volumetric virtual water mainly flows from northwest and northeast China to north and east China, while impact-oriented virtual water mainly flows from northwest and central south China to east and north China. Northwest China is the largest net export region of agricultural virtual water, and it is dominated by direct water consumption. In addition, we compared the net export volume of virtual water and the water shortage situation among regions in China. North China, where the water shortage is very serious, mainly relies on external water sources, while northwest China, which also faces a water shortage problem, exports a large amount of virtual water to external sources. The findings of this study highlight the importance of taking full account of the response measures in both cases when formulating policies. In other words, the virtual water strategy should consider water quantity and water quality simultaneously. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; agricultural virtual water; water degradation; multi-regional input-output model water footprint; agricultural virtual water; water degradation; multi-regional input-output model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ren, Y.; Huang, K.; Yu, Y.; Hu, J. Inter-Regional Agricultural Virtual Water Flow in China Based on Volumetric and Impact-Oriented Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) Approach. Water 2020, 12, 251.

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