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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-193
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 May 2018

Research article | 02 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Assessing Green and Blue Water: Understanding Interactions and Making Balance between Human and Nature

Ganquan Mao1,2, Junguo Liu1, Feng Han1, Ying Meng1, Yong Tian1, Yi Zheng1, and Chunmiao Zheng1 Ganquan Mao et al.
  • 1School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, 518055, China
  • 2School of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, China

Abstract. Water resources assessment is crucial for human well-being and ecosystem’s health. Assessments by considering both the blue and green water are of great significance as the green water plays a critical but often ignored role in the terrestrial ecosystem, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Many approaches have been developed for green and blue water valuation, while few of them considers the interrelationship between them. This study proposed a new framework for green and blue water assessment by considering the interactions between them in an arid endorheic river basin where hydrological cycling is dramatically altered by human activities. Results show that even though the green water is the dominant water resources, the blue water is also critical. Most of the blue water are transformed to green water through physically and human induced processes to meet the water demand of ecosystems. Time and spatial variability of water supply and consumption forms totally different blue and green water regimes in different ecosystems. We also found that human use an increasing share of water with the decrease of the water availability. The massive water use by human reduces the water use for natural ecosystems. This indicates that natural ecosystems will take a higher risk of freshwater use when the water use competition increases. This study provides crucial information to better understand the interactions between green and blue water by assessing water resources in an explicit way. It also provides crucial implications for water management aiming to make the balance between humankind and nature.

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Latest update: 19 Jul 2018
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Short summary
Apart from traditional water assessment, a new framework is proposed that assesses water resources beyond water balance and take into consideration of all the important factors as possible from perspective of both water supply and consumption. The interaction between green and blue water plays a key role in the completed water cycling. Natural ecosystems potentially take a higher risk on freshwater use when the water use competition increases between human and nature.
Apart from traditional water assessment, a new framework is proposed that assesses water...
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