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Assessment of the water resource carrying capacity based on the ecological footprint: a case study in Zhangjiakou City, North China

Dai, Dan, Sun, Mingdong, Xu, Xiangqin, Lei, Kun
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.11 pp. 11000-11011
carrying capacity, case studies, cities, dynamic models, ecological footprint, industrialization, irrigation, pollution control, socioeconomic development, sustainable development, urbanization, water pollution, water shortages, water use efficiency, China
With the rapid economic development in the past decades, industrialization and urbanization in China has also rapidly developed and will continue in the next decades. However, the regional water shortage has posed great challenges for the sustainable development of big cities especially in north China. Here, we used the water ecological footprint model combined with the system dynamic model to assess the water resource carrying capacity and its sustainability in Zhangjiakou City, a typical water shortage city in north China. The calculated results showed that irrigation was the largest water consumer in Zhangjiakou. There existed a clear gap between water supply and water consumption in this city and such a gap is demonstrated by the high water resource pressure index. Our predicted results based on the water resource ecological footprint and the system dynamic model showed that although the improving water use efficiency has relieved the regional water shortage pressure, the efficiency gained would be to a large degree offset by increased water demands due to the increasing economic development. The annual average water shortage in Zhangjiakou in 2007–2050 would be up to 8.53 × 10⁸ m³, nearly half of the total local average annual water resource. To deal with the severe water shortage over the next three decades, great attention should be paid to scientific water resource managements and water pollution control. This research provides a long-term view of water resource pressure and provides recommendations for a sustainable water use under the rapid regional socioeconomic development.