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Latest Research Results from Research Team Led by Liu Junguo Published on Water Resources Research


Recently Water Resources Research, a top periodical in the water resource field, published a research paper titled “Burden Shifting of Water Quantity and Quality Stress from Megacity Shanghai” from the research team led by Professor Liu Junguo of the School of Environmental Science & Engineering of SUSTech.

The researchers of the research team, through a lot of research, have found that developed countries are shifting carbon emission burden to developing countries through trade activities, but few researches have pointed out that developed areas are also shifting burden of water quantity and quality stress to underdeveloped areas. The team led by Professor Liu Junguo have, with Shanghai, the largest city in China, as the subject, investigated using the regional input-output method on how the megacity shifts its burden of water quantity and quality stress to other provinces in China through virtual water trade.

The results show that in 2007 the consumption activities in Shanghai consumed 11.6 billion cubic meters of fresh water and discharged 796,000 tons of COD, and 16,200 tons of NH3-N, while about 80% of the discharge of wastewater and pollutants caused by the consumption in Shanghai occurred in other provinces of China. By selling products to Shanghai, some provinces have consumed their local water resources and polluted their local water bodies to some extent. The import of 60% of Shanghai’s virtual water was from 13 provinces with extreme and severe water shortage, while the “outsourcing” of 79% of its COD and 75.5% of its NH3-N was from 19 provinces with water quality stress.

Figure 1. (a) Shanghai’s net virtual water import (b) COD emission in other provinces caused by consumption in Shanghai (c) NH3-N emission in other provinces caused by consumption in Shanghai

The research results above show that when the strictest “three red-line” control indexes (total water consumption, water utilization efficiency and total pollutant discharge control) on water resource management are implemented, the water stress shifting problem between provinces should be considered; Shanghai should take certain responsibility to areas that Shanghai shifts water pressure to and make compensation to provinces that are relatively backward and receive water resource stress. Meanwhile, Shanghai should actively explore ways to save water and reduce water pollution from consumers’ perspective.

The research has obtained support from foundations like the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

To download the research paper, please go to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016WR018595/full