Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 11000–11011 | Cite as

Assessment of the water resource carrying capacity based on the ecological footprint: a case study in Zhangjiakou City, North China

  • Dan Dai
  • Mingdong Sun
  • Xiangqin Xu
  • Kun LeiEmail author
Research Article


With the rapid economic development in the past decades, industrialization and urbanization in China has also rapidly developed and will continue in the next decades. However, the regional water shortage has posed great challenges for the sustainable development of big cities especially in north China. Here, we used the water ecological footprint model combined with the system dynamic model to assess the water resource carrying capacity and its sustainability in Zhangjiakou City, a typical water shortage city in north China. The calculated results showed that irrigation was the largest water consumer in Zhangjiakou. There existed a clear gap between water supply and water consumption in this city and such a gap is demonstrated by the high water resource pressure index. Our predicted results based on the water resource ecological footprint and the system dynamic model showed that although the improving water use efficiency has relieved the regional water shortage pressure, the efficiency gained would be to a large degree offset by increased water demands due to the increasing economic development. The annual average water shortage in Zhangjiakou in 2007–2050 would be up to 8.53 × 108 m3, nearly half of the total local average annual water resource. To deal with the severe water shortage over the next three decades, great attention should be paid to scientific water resource managements and water pollution control. This research provides a long-term view of water resource pressure and provides recommendations for a sustainable water use under the rapid regional socioeconomic development.


Water resource carrying capacity Ecological footprint Sustainability System dynamic model 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project-Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2018ZX07111002).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Water SciencesBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.River and Coastal Environment Research CenterChinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingChina

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