Chinese Journal of Eco-Agriculture (中国生态农业学报) 2014/22:3 PP.356-362
Water scarcity has become one of the most serious environmental problems for human survival in the 21st century. At present, there is the urgent need to explore the key factors that influencing water resources utilization and to build low water consumption strategies. Life style has received considerable attention as the key factor influencing water consumption. This article used data from peasant household investigation to run a water footprint estimation model. The model accounted water footprint of farmers with different livelihoods in the middle reaches of Heihe River. It also analyzed the impact of farmers’ livelihood on water footprint using the Least Squares method. The results showed that per capita water footprint of farmers in the middle reaches of Heihe River was 145.87 m3. Per capita water footprints of pure farmers, multi-occupational farmers and non-agricultural farmers were 151.61 m3, 148.08 m3 and 137.91 m3, respectively. Per farmer water footprint dropped with the shift of farmers from agricultural to non-agricultural activities. With shift from agricultural to non-agricultural activities, the proportion of per capita water footprint for grain consumption decreased from pure farmers, multi-occupational farmers to non-agricultural farmers in the middle reaches of Heihe River. Water footprint ratio for fruits/vegetables and cleaning consumption increased in the farmer communities. Also water footprint ratio for animal product consumption of multi-occupational farmers was higher than those of non-agricultural and pure farmers. The improved education level of non-agricultural farmers and labors reduced water footprint and expanded family size/net per capita income increased water footprint. However, the rate of increase in water footprint was lower than that of family size and net per capita income. Based on the research results, comprehensive suggestions were put forward so as to establish low water use to improve water use efficiency in rural areas of the middle reaches of Heihe River.
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