Water Resources Management

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 657–675 | Cite as

Assessing the Adaptability of Water Resources System in Shandong Province, China, Using a Novel Comprehensive Co-evolution Model

  • Jiping Yao
  • Guoqiang WangEmail author
  • Weina Xue
  • Zhipeng YaoEmail author
  • Baolin Xue


Studying the complex adaptability of regional water resources systems (WRS) plays an important role in promoting the sustainable utilization of water resources and improving the adaptation of WRS to environmental change. This study proposed a comprehensive co-evolution model, based on the conditions of the elements and on the mechanism of their interaction, to study the adaptive development of WRS. Using the model, the survival fitness of each subsystem, the coordination degree between each subsystem, and the survival fitness of the WRS were obtained, and the main factors that affect the adaptation of the WRS were analyzed. Shandong Province in China was used as an example. The results showed that during 2006–2015, the average annual survival fitness of the resource, social, economic, and ecological subsystems was 0.257, 0.282, 0.257, and 0.251, respectively, which indicated a low adaptability for each subsystem. The coordination degree between each subsystem (resource–society, resource–economy, resource–ecology, social–economic, social–ecological, and economic–ecological) was 0.319, 0.355, 0.334, 0.364, 0.333, and 0.351, respectively, which indicated minimal coordination between each subsystem. The average annual survival fitness of the WRS was 0.551, and the adaptability of the WRS was classified as basic. Further analysis revealed that the coordination problem caused by the interaction of the elements in each subsystem was responsible for the low adaptability. The coordination problem, therefore, places severe constraints on the adaptive development of WRS. Therefore, solving the problem of coordination between elements is fundamental to improving the adaptability of WRS and promoting its sustainable development.


Water resources systems Adaptability Comprehensive co-evolution model Survival fitness Coordination degree 



This study was supported by the Chinese National Special Science and Technology Program of Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant No. 2017ZX07302004), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0401308) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51679006). We thank Paul Seward, PhD, from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Group China (, for editing the English text of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Water SciencesBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Municipal and Environmental EngineeringShandong Jianzhu UniversityJinanChina
  3. 3.China National Environmental Monitoring CenterBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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