Advertisement

Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 122, Issue 3–4, pp 557–565 | Cite as

Investigation of changes in water resources and grain production in China: changing patterns and uncertainties

  • Wei Kuang
  • Yunjin HuEmail author
  • Xiangqian Dai
  • Xingyuan Song
Original Paper

Abstract

Water resources are very important for grain production in China. In this study, we investigate the changes in streamflow and grain production in China from 1956 to 2008. Since the 1980s, the increase of total grain production was mainly contributed by northern China where significantly decreasing precipitation and available water resources were observed. From 1985 to 2008, northern China accounted for 92.9 % of the national total grain production growth. Consequently, the main grain production area has shifted from the south to the north. However, the shift was mismatching the spatial distributions and temporal changes in precipitation and available water resources in China. During 1956 through 2008, precipitation decreased in the main grain production areas of the northern China by 1.23-1.27 mm per year. During the same period, observed streamflows in the five major rivers in northern China decreased by 13.4-92.4 %. Current grain production in northern China is dependent on overexploitation of groundwater. From 1987 to 2000, the average groundwater table declined 10.8 m with a maximum decrease of 34.8 m in North China Plain. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change and projected industrial development exacerbate the uncertainty of grain supply by northern China in the future. This study also indicated the potential of southern China for a more important role in ensuring sustainable food security of China, with increasing precipitation and streamflows observed in the Yangtze River and Pearl River basins.

Keywords

Water Resource Food Security Sichuan Basin North China Plain Yellow River Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Brown LR (2009) Could food shortages bring down civilization? Sci Am 5:50–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown LR (2011) World on the edge: how to prevent environmental and economic collapse. W. W. Norton & Company, USA, pp 21–33Google Scholar
  3. Brown LR, Halweil B (1998) China’s water shortage could shake world food security. World Watch 114:10–21Google Scholar
  4. Chen Z, Nie Z, Zhang Z, Qi J, Nan Y (2005) Isotopes and sustainability of ground water resources, North China Plain. Ground Water 43:485–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hanjra MA, Qureshi ME (2010) Global water crisis and future food security in an era of climate change. Food Policy 355:365–377Google Scholar
  6. Kendall MG (1975) Rank correlation measures. Charles Griffin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Khan S, Hanjra MA (2009) Footprints of water and energy inputs in food production-global perspectives. Food Policy 342:130–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Li J (2010) Water shortages loom as northern China’s aquifers are sucked dry. Science 18:1462–1463Google Scholar
  9. Liu J, Tian H, Liu M, Zhuang D, Melillo JM, Zhuang Z (2005) China’s changing landscape during the 1990s: large-scale land transformations estimated with satellite data. Geophys Res Lett 32, L02405Google Scholar
  10. Liu X, Luo Y, Zhang D, Zhang M, Liu C (2011a) Recent changes in pan-evaporation dynamics in China. Geophys Res Lett 38:L13404. doi: 10.1029/2011GL047929, 4 PPGoogle Scholar
  11. Liu X, Zheng H, Zhang M, Liu C (2011b) Identification of dominant climate factor for pan evaporation trend in the Tibetan Plateau. J Geogr Sci 21:594–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu X, Liu C, Luo Y, Zhang M, Xia J (2012) Dramatic decrease in streamflow from the headwater source in the central route of China’s water diversion project: climatic variation or human influence? J Geophys Res 117. doi: 10.1029/2011jd016879
  13. Mann HB (1945) Non-parametric tests against trend. Econometrica 13:245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Meehl GA et al (2007) Global climate projections. In: Solomon S et al (eds) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Milly PCD, Betancourt J, Falkenmark M, Hirsch RM, Kudzewicz ZW, Lettenmaier DP, Stouffer RJ (2008) Climate change: stationarity is dead: whither water management? Science 319:573–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Postel S, Vickers A (2004) Boosting water productivity. In State of the World 2004: Special Focus: The Consumer Society. Worldwatch InstituteGoogle Scholar
  17. Ren L, Wang M, Li C, Zhang W (2002) Impacts of human activity on river runoff in the northern area of China. J Hydrol 261(1–4):204–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rosenzweig C, Strzepek KM, Major DC, Iglesias A, Yates DN, McCluskey A, Hillel D (2004) Water resources for agricultural in changing climate: international case studies. Glob Environ Chang 14:345–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tso TC (2004) Agriculture of the future. Nature 428:215–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wada Y, van Beek LPH, van Kempen CM, Reckman JWTM, Vasak S, Bierkens MFP et al (2010) Global depletion of groundwater resources. Geophys Res Lett 37, L20402Google Scholar
  21. Wang Y, Sheng LX, Li K, Sun HY (2008) Analysis of present situation of water resources and countermeasures for sustainable development in China. [in Chinese]. J Water Res 19:10–14Google Scholar
  22. Xue Y, Wu J, Ye S, Zhang Y (2000) Hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical studies of salt-water intrusion on the south coast of Laizhou Bay, China. Ground Water 38:38–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yue S, Wang CY (2002) Applicability of prewhitening to eliminate the influence of serial correlation on the Mann-Kendall test. Water Resour Res 38(6):1068. doi: 10.1029/2001WR000861 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Kuang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yunjin Hu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xiangqian Dai
    • 4
  • Xingyuan Song
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Civil EngineeringShaoxing UniversityShaoxingChina
  3. 3.The Water Resources & Survey Bureau of the Changjiang Middle Reaches, Bureau of HydrologyChangjiang Water Resources CommissionWuhanChina
  4. 4.The Development Research Center of the Ministry of Water Resources of People’s Republic of ChinaBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations