Past, current and future water scarcity in China



Persons involved:

Zhuo La (PhD student)

Prof. Dr. ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra (promoter)

Dr. Mesfin M. Mekonnen




Meeting an increasing water demand of a growing population, coupled with socio-economic developments and global change, with finite water resources, is becoming a bottleneck for sustainable human development and a big challenge for modern water management. As China struggles to develop effective approaches to solve water problems, a clear understanding of the water scarcity issue is very important However, although some large infrastructural works like the Three Gorges Dam and the South-to-North Water Transfer Project have been implemented to alleviate physical water shortage, water scarcity remains a major concern due to raising water consumption in China.

The objective of the study is to evaluate past, current and future water scarcity at both river basin (Yellow River basin) and national level (China as a whole) in China based on water footprint concepts focusing on uncertainties, intra-annual variation, and future scenarios.

The research will provide insight on how human activities affect past and current water scarcity and how climate change, population growth and economic development impact future water scarcity of China. Such information would be vital for stakeholders when developing policies for sustainable water management of China to address impacts of climate change and socio-economic factors.