Journal of Yangtze River Scientific Research Institute ›› 2023, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (10): 35-43.DOI: 10.11988/ckyyb.20220875

• Water Resources • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of Water Resources Utilization in the Yangtze River Economic Belt Based on Water Footprint Theory

HU Yuan-zhao, ZHU Hao, YIN Ming-cai, MA Jia-ning, QIN Hua-song, ZHANG Ji-shi   

  1. School of Environmental and Municipal Engineering, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2022-07-15 Revised:2022-09-27 Online:2023-10-01 Published:2023-10-13

Abstract: Based on data from 11 provinces and cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt from 2000 to 2020, we evaluated the utilization of water resources and spatial correlation characteristics in the region by using the water footprint theory. Economic decoupling, spatial autocorrelation, and water resource scarcity index are key indicators in the evaluation. The findings are as follows: 1) the total water footprint of the Yangtze River Economic Belt exhibited an increasing trend from 2000 to 2020, while the composition of water footprint varied significantly. Analysis of related indicators revealed a slow annual growth rate of 1.07% in per capita water footprint, fluctuating water resource scarcity index that remained below 1 on the whole, and improving water resource utilization efficiency. 2) The relationship between economic development and water footprint within the Yangtze River Economic Belt primarily demonstrated weak decoupling. To be specific, Shanghai and Zhejiang Province displayed strong decoupling, while other provinces and cities exhibited weak decoupling. 3) Throughout the study period, negative spatial autocorrelation was observed among provincial-scale water footprints in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. However, after 2015, Moran’s I index displayed a trend of fluctuation and decline, indicating a gradual weakening of spatial differences. This can be attributed to the recent focus on regional collaborative development, continuous optimization of industrial structure and production mode, the cultivation of advantageous industries, and strengthened collaborative water resource management among provinces and cities within the region. The research results serve as a valuable reference for the scientific management, optimal allocation, and industrial adjustment of water resources in the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Key words: water resources utilization, water footprint, decoupling analysis, spatial autocorrelation analysis, Yangtze River Economic Belt

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