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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (7): 674-687    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0074-5
Research article     
Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China
WU Jun1,2,3, DENG Guoning1, ZHOU Dongmei1, ZHU Xiaoyan1, MA Jing1, CEN Guozhang1, JIN Yinli1, ZHANG Jun1,2,3,*()
1College of Resources and Environmental Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
2Research Center for Water-saving Agriculture in Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730070, China
3Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Arid Land Crop Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
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Water resources are a crucial factor that determines the health of ecosystems and socio-economic development; however, they are under threat due to climate change and human activities. The quantitative assessment of water resources using the concept of blue water and green water can improve regional water resources management. In this study, spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water were simulated and analyzed under scenarios of climate change and land-use changes using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China, between 2009 and 2014. Green water, a leading component of water resources, accounted for more than 69.00% of the total water resources in Ningxia. Blue water and green water showed a single peak trend on the monthly and annual scales during the study period. On the spatial scale, the southern region of Ningxia showed higher blue water and green water resources than the northern region. The spatiotemporal distribution features of blue water, green water, and green water flow had strong correlations with precipitation. Furthermore, the simulation identified the climate change in Ningxia to be more influential on blue water and green water than land-use changes. This study provides a specific scientific foundation to manage water resources in Ningxia when encountered with climate change together with human activities.

Key wordsblue water      green water      climate change      human activities      SWAT      semi-arid region     
Received: 09 November 2020      Published: 10 July 2021
Corresponding Authors: ZHANG Jun     E-mail:
About author: *ZHANG Jun (E-mail:
Cite this article:

WU Jun, DENG Guoning, ZHOU Dongmei, ZHU Xiaoyan, MA Jing, CEN Guozhang, JIN Yinli, ZHANG Jun. Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 674-687.

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Scenario Land use Climate data
Scenario I 2010 2010
Scenario II 2010 2014
Scenario III 2014 2014
Table 1 Scenario setup in three scenarios
Fig. 1 Comparison of the observed monthly runoff and simulated monthly runoff as well as precipitation in Shizuishan hydrological station from 2009 to 2014
Fig. 2 Monthly averages of blue water, green water, and precipitation during the period 2009-2014
Fig. 3 Relationships of precipitation with blue water and green water on the monthly scale
Fig. 4 Average annual blue water, green water, and precipitation during 2009-2014
Fig. 5 Relationships of precipitation with blue water and green water on the annual scale
Fig. 6 Spatial distributions of annual precipitation (a), blue water (b), green water flow (c), green water storage (d), and green water coefficient (e)
Scenario Blue water (mm/a) Change of blue water (mm/a)
Scenario I 42.16 21.72 (scenario II-scenario I)
Scenario II 63.88 -0.13 (scenario III-scenario II)
Scenario III 63.75 21.59 (scenario III-scenario I)
Table 2 Simulated average annual blue water due to climate change and land-use changes
Fig. 7 Spatial variability of blue water simulated under different scenarios in Ningxia
Scenario Green water flow (mm/a) Change of green water flow (mm/a)
Scenario I 131.36 42.38 (scenario II-scenario I)
Scenario II 173.74 -0.24 (scenario III-scenario II)
Scenario III 173.50 42.14 (scenario III-scenario I)
Table 3 Simulated average annual green water flow due to climate change and land-use changes
Fig. 8 Spatial variability of green water flow simulated under different scenarios in Ningxia
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