Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (12): 2261-2273.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.12.01

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Spatiotemporal patterns and driving factors of water resources use in the Yellow River Basin

SUN Siao1,2(), TANG Qiuhong2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2020-02-10 Revised:2020-05-27 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-02-25


Along with the rapid population growth and socioeconomic development, the Yellow River Basin (YRB) in China is facing water scarcity. Given limited water resources availability in the YRB in the semi-arid and arid regions, water resources management on the demand side is essential for sustainable development in the region. Previous studies on driving forces of water use were mostly based on administrative units. In this study, we analyzed the spatiotemporal patterns and change of water use in the YRB in 2003-2015 at the second-order basin scale. In addition, we examined the main influencing factors that drive the temporal and spatial changes of water use using the logarithmic mean divisia index (LMDI) method. The results indicated that the total water use in the YRB represented 8.0%~9.3% of the total water use in China. The total water use in the YRB exhibited an increasing trend, while water use per capita showed a decreasing trend. The main driving factors for the spatial evolution of water use in different second-order basins were different. The increasing water uses in the second-order YRBs were mainly attributed to population growth and per capita GDP increase, whereas water use efficiency improvement and industrial structure upgrading contributed to offsetting increasing water use. Per capita water uses in the second-order basins showed large spatial heterogeneity. The spatial LMDI results showd that water use intensity was the largest contributor to the spatial difference of per capita water uses. The effects of all the contributing factors to the spatial differences of per capita water use tended to decrease with time. The results are useful in informing relevant policies towards sustainable water use and management in the YRB.

Key words: water resources management, Yellow River Basin, logarithmic mean divisia index (LMDI), water use, socioeconomic factors