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Water-energy nexus and its efficiency in China’s construction industry: Evidence from province-level data



The rapidly growing construction industry has accelerated water and energy scarcity in China, threatening its sustainable development. This study integrates multi-regional input-output (MRIO) and data envelopment analysis (DEA) to investigate the water-energy nexus in the construction industry at the provincial level through the entire industrial supply chain. Results show that the construction industry accounts for 8.97% and 27.20% of virtual water and embodied energy in China, respectively. The western area experiences the most energy- and water-intensive construction processes given its backward economy and outdated technological development. The northern area faces great challenges with regard to energy intensity improvements, whereas the central regions suffer from large pressure relating to inefficient water use. The manufacture of non-metallic mineral products, smelting, and the pressing of metals are the largest suppliers of virtual water and embodied energy. The efficiency assessment results demonstrate that Jiangsu and Zhejiang are two DEA-effective regions. China has achieved a relatively high level of scale efficiency but suffers from backward technology.