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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Virtual Water on Sustainable Development in Gansu Province

1
College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
2
Department of Bioresource Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
3
College of Social Development and Public Administration, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
4
Gansu Engineering Research Center of Land Utilization and Comprehension Consolidation, Lanzhou 730070, China
5
Department of Resources and Environment, Lanzhou University of Finance and Economics, Lanzhou 730070, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10020586
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 25 December 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Environmental Solutions)
The concept of virtual water, as a new approach for addressing water shortage and safety issues, can be applied to support sustainable development in water-scarce regions. Using the input-output method, the direct and the complete water use coefficients of industries categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary, and the spatial flow patterns of the inter-provincial trade in the Gansu province region of China, were explored. The results show that in 2007, 2010, and 2012 the direct and complete water use coefficients of the primary industries were the greatest among the three industry categories, with direct water use coefficients of 1545.58, 882.28, and 762.16, respectively, and complete water use coefficients of 1692.22, 1005.38, and 873.44, respectively; whereas, the direct and complete water use coefficient values of the tertiary industry category were the lowest, with direct water use coefficients of 16.65, 7.74, and 66.89 for 2007, 2010, and 2012, respectively, and complete water use coefficients of 65.46, 66.89, and 72.81 for 2007, 2010, and 2012, respectively. In addition, study results suggest that the volume of virtual water supplied to Gasnu province’s local industries has decreased annually, while virtual water exports from the province have increased annually, with the primary industry accounting for 95% of virtual water output. Overall, the virtual water of Gansu province in 2010 showed a net output trend, with a total output of 0.506 billion m3, while in 2007 and 2012 it showed a net input trend with a total input of 0.104 and 1.235 billion m3, respectively. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Ningxia and other water-scarce areas were the main input, or import source for Gansu’s virtual water; during the years studied, these provinces imported more than 50 million m3 individually. Based on these results, it is clear that under the current structure, virtual water is mainly exported to the well-developed coastal areas and their adjacent provinces or other water-abundant regions. Therefore, Gansu province should (1) adjust the industrial structure and develop water-saving and high-tech industries; (2) adjust the current trade pattern to reduce virtual water output while increasing its input to achieve balanced economic development and water resource security. View Full-Text
Keywords: water resources; virtual water trade; input-output method; Gansu province water resources; virtual water trade; input-output method; Gansu province
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, W.; Adamowski, J.F.; Liu, C.; Liu, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Wang, X.; Su, H.; Cao, J. The Impact of Virtual Water on Sustainable Development in Gansu Province. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 586.

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