China’s Textile Industry is Constantly Reducing Water Consumption


New research from China claims the country has been partly successful in “de-coupling” the growth of its textile industry from increases in water consumption and discharge. The researchers claim this is due to the better use of technology and water saving methods and stronger environmental laws in China. The researchers (Yi Li, Linyi Lu, Yingxi Tan, Laili Wang and Manhong Shen of different Chinese universities and research institutions) found that the water footprint of China’s textile industry “strongly decoupled” from the growth of its textile industry for five years (2002, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2013) and “weakly decoupled” for four years (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2010) over the period 2001-2014. Over the entire period, there was a slight decoupling trend which the researchers indicate was due to the better use of technology and a growth in the amount of water saving methods being employed by the textile industry. The research paper says: “The decoupling trend as a whole is good, but the development of the textile industry is not completely independent of the water footprint. In general, during the sampling period, China’s textile industry has controlled the amount of wastewater discharge and achieved significant effects on wastewater management. “Governments and enterprises should raise awareness of water-saving emission reduction and technical level to prevent reversal of the trend of decoupling development. The main factors affecting the decoupling of water footprint and economic growth in China’s textile industry are industry scale and technology level; the influence of industry structure is not evident. Industry scale factor is the primary factor that causes water footprint growth; technical level is the biggest contributor in the suppression of water footprint growth. “Establishing a resource-saving and environment-friendly textile production system is an essential goal of the development of China’s textile industry, and also a prerequisite for China to achieve green modernisation. These findings will help Chinese textile enterprises and government decision-makers adopt appropriate decisions to improve the water management level and ultimately achieve sustainable development of the textile industry.”