Articles | Volume 23, issue 5
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-23-2491-2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-23-2491-2019
Research article
 | 
28 May 2019
Research article |  | 28 May 2019

Reconstructed natural runoff helps to quantify the relationship between upstream water use and downstream water scarcity in China's river basins

Xinyao Zhou, Yonghui Yang, Zhuping Sheng, and Yongqiang Zhang

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Latest update: 24 Jun 2024
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Short summary
Quantifying the impact of upstream water use on downstream water scarcity is critical for water management. Comparing natural and observed runoff in China's 12 basins, this study found surface water use increased 1.6 times for the 1970s-2000s, driving most arid and semi-arid (ASA) basins into water scarcity status. The water stress decreased downstream in ASA basins due to reduced upstream inflow since the 2000s. Upstream water use caused over a 30 % increase in water scarcity in ASA basins.