Impacts of Water Scarcity on Socioeconomic Development in Inland River Basins

  • Qing Zhou
  • Xiangzheng Deng
  • Feng Wu
  • Zhihui Li
  • Wei Song
Living reference work entry
Part of the Ecohydrology book series (ECOH)


Provisioning services for socioeconomic development are important hydrological ecosystem services that humans obtain from freshwater. The conflict between water scarcity and economic development in arid regions affects water utilization among different sectors. A water resource embedded social accounting matrix (SAM) can help to analyze the relationship between water resource utilization and socioeconomic development. In this paper, a water resource embedded SAM was constructed in Gaotai County, northwestern China, and the SAM multiplier model was applied to explore the economic structure, feedback mechanisms, and water flows among different sectors. Furthermore, scenario analyses were conducted to simulate the impacts of different policies on regional economic development and water resource utilization patterns. Through the multiplier analysis, we found that agriculture is less productive than the secondary industries because of its low development stage and lack of deep processing chains. However, the influence of agricultural sectors on the whole economic system outweighs the influence of the secondary and tertiary industries. Results also indicated that expanding agricultural exports can promote rural employment and improve rural household welfare, but will also lead to water resources outflow and aggravate water conflicts among different water users. At last, the simulation results of price reform showed that agriculture water price increase will cause a chain effect among different sectors. Water price increases by one unit will lead to the price of agricultural products, industrial products, and labor increase by 0.03, 0.018, and 0.005 units, respectively, and the Consumer Price Index increases by 0.005 units.


Social accounting matrix National economy SAM multiplier Irrigation water price Water scarcity Heihe River Basin 



This research was financially supported by a grant from the major research plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 91425303). Data support from the research projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 91325302; Grant No. 71225005) is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiangzheng Deng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Feng Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhihui Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Song
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and SimulationInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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