China’s crop-related water footprint and trade

La Zhuo, Mesfin M. Mekonnen, Arjen Y. Hoekstra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


In this chapter, the authors present long-term changes and variabilities in crop-related water footprints, virtual water flows, and water scarcity at both national and river basin scale in China, through several case studies. Water footprint of food consumption per capita in China decreased across all the scenarios as compared to the baseline year (927 m3 cap-1 y-1 ), driven by the decreased Water Footprint (WF) per tonne of most crops. The authors show past, current, and future WFs and virtual water flows related to crop production, consumption, and trade in China, at both national and basin scale. The Yellow River Basin, located in the North, experienced improved crop yields and associated smaller water footprints per unit of crop, but nowadays about half of the area of the basin suffers severe blue water scarcity even in the wet months of a wet year.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWater Resources and Economic Processes
EditorsTiziano Distefano
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Tailor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9780429025013
ISBN (Print)9780367111403
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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