Based on an analysis of economy-wide resource flows using China's input-output tables, the authors draw three overarching conclusions:
- First, the energy used both directly and indirectly in providing non-agricultural water currently represents only a small fraction of China's total energy consumption. However, this share is set to increase as the country expands its water treatment capacity and hydraulic infrastructure. A lifecycle assessment framework for evaluating these projects would aid policymakers as they choose between more and less energy-intensive modes of water provision.
- Second, energy-water price interactions are currently of little relevance to policymakers because water prices are low, but the high electricity-intensity of water treatment facilities and their need to recover costs may change this situation.
- Third, water “migration” from agriculture to non-agricultural uses will have important energy dimensions, which will be important for policymakers to bear in mind as they design water pricing and conservation efforts.
Water Policy (2008) 10 (S1): 51-65.