China's sustainable water-energy-food nexus by 2030 : Impacts of urbanization on sectoral water demand

Venla Niva, Jialiang Cai*, Maija Taka, Matti Kummu, Olli Varis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
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In the context of China's rapid and perennial urbanization, it is of profound importance to understand how to enable and accelerate progress towards achieving the country's sustainable water-energy-food nexus by 2030. In this study, a quantitative spatial scenario analysis was performed to identify the provinces that are expected to experience changes in water stress, under the competition for water between food and energy sectors. The results manifested an imbalance of water availability for meeting the demand between those two sectors. First, food sector played the leading role in the baseline water stress. Second, energy sector dominates the increases of the projected water stress index. Third, urbanization is projected to substantially affect the extent of water availability, especially in the eastern provinces. Tackling imbalanced sectoral water demand is the key to China's sustainable water-energy-food nexus, which shall require some corresponding changes in national policy-making. China needs, first, policy coherence and synergies, second, ensuring the adequacy of any follow-up procedures, and third, embracing greater participation and transparency in policy-making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119755
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Blue water
  • China
  • Energy security
  • Food security
  • Urbanization
  • Water footprint


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