Beijing has experienced rapid economical development and population growth during the recent decades, aggravating the water scarcity. In order to investigate the water consumption of Beijing, this paper quantitatively evaluates the water footprint (WF), the intensity of water footprint (Iwf) and the external water dependency (WD) basing on the top-down and bottom–up methods. We obtain the following major conclusions: (1) The total WF in Beijing is 353 108 m³ in 2012; per capita WF is 1,704 m³, which is 8 times that of the entity water of Beijing. (2) The Iwf in Beijing rises after 2007, indicating that there remains a great potential for improving water-use efficiency. (3) Through virtual water trade, the external WF takes over 70% of the total WF annually; therefore, Beijing faces more severe water resources stress recently. (4) Through the spatial analysis of external WD, we identify that in each side of the Hu line, distribution of distance of the flow of imported virtual water shows homogeneity, that WD in the southeast region is high and in the northwest is weak.
- external water dependency
- virtual water trade
- water footprint
- water scarcity
- First received 3 September 2015.
- Accepted in revised form 9 February 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016