PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (2): 207-218.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.02.003

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Measurement and transfer analysis of grey water footprint of Chinese provinces and industries based on a multi-regional input-output model

SUN Caizhi1,2, YAN Xiaodong2   

  1. 1. Center for Studies of Marine Economy and Sustainable Development, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
    2. School of Geography, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
  • Received:2019-02-18 Revised:2019-05-23 Online:2020-02-28 Published:2020-04-28
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of National Social Science Foundation of China(19AJY010)


Water shortage and water pollution have seriously affected human survival and China's sustainable development. Analysis of water pollution in various regions and industries is the key for addressing China's environmental sustainability problem. This study used multiregional input-output tables for 2002, 2007, and 2012 on the basis of traditional greywater footprint research, calculated the process and final consumption grey water footprints of China's 30 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions (not including Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Tianwan) and 17 industries during 2002-2012, and the total grey water footprint transfer of the eight regions and 17 industries. The results show that: 1) The grey water footprints of large economic areas such as Shandong, Henan, and Hebei have been relatively high, and the grey water footprints of relatively small economies such as Qinghai, Ningxia, and Hainan have been relatively small. 2) Agriculture is the largest sector contributing to grey water footprint. The four industries in the commercial and transportation sectors have large grey water footprints, but their total is far less than the agricultural grey water footprint. The grey water footprints of five industrial sectors, such as other manufacturing industries, have been relatively small. 3) The net input area of grey water footprint is the Beijing-Tianjin region, northern coastal region, eastern coastal region, and southern coastal region. The sum of the two paths with the largest amount of grey water footprint transfer increases first and then decreases. The identified main grey water footprint outflow-inflow area is the central area-the eastern coastal area. 4) Agriculture and mining industry are the net export sectors of grey water footprints. Most light industries and tertiary industries are the net input sectors of grey water footprints. The identified major grey water footprint outflow-inflow sectors include agriculture-food manufacturing and tobacco processing, agriculture-textile services, and agriculture-chemical industries. The grey water footprints generated by various regions and industries and the grey water footprint paths identified for the regions and industries can provide a theoretical basis for reducing grey water production, and provide theoretical support for the rational use of regional and industrial water resources.

Key words: grey water footprint, multi-regional input-output model, intermediate consumption, final consumption, China