A recent study decomposed the changes in industrial water use into three hierarchies (output, technology, and structure) using a refined Laspeyres decomposition model, and found monotonous and exclusive trends in the output and technology hierarchies. Based on that research, this study proposes a hierarchical prediction approach to forecast future industrial water demand. Three water demand scenarios (high, medium, and low) were then established based on potential future industrial structural adjustments, and used to predict water demand for the structural hierarchy. The predictive results of this approach were compared with results from a grey prediction model (GPM (1, 1)). The comparison shows that the results of the two approaches were basically identical, differing by less than 10%. Taking Tianjin, China, as a case, and using data from 2003–2012, this study predicts that industrial water demand will continuously increase, reaching 580 million m3, 776.4 million m3, and approximately 1.09 billion m3 by the years 2015, 2020 and 2025 respectively. It is concluded that Tianjin will soon face another water crisis if no immediate measures are taken. This study recommends that Tianjin adjust its industrial structure with water savings as the main objective, and actively seek new sources of water to increase its supply.

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