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Arjen Hoekstra UNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands (ihe.nl)

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The role of virtual water transfer in water management. Arjen Hoekstra UNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands (www.ihe.nl). Virtual water content of products. Definition of virtual water. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Arjen Hoekstra UNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands (ihe.nl)

  • Arjen HoekstraUNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands (www.ihe.nl)

    The role of virtual water transfer in water management

  • Virtual water content of products

    1 kg grain1-2 m3 water1 kg cheese5 m3 water1 kg beef16 m3 waterFive hundred 32-MB chips(2 gram each)16 m3 water

  • Definition of virtual waterVirtual water is the water embodied in a product, not in real sense, but in virtual sense. It refers to the water needed for the production of the product.

  • Assessing virtual water trade flowsVirtual water content of a cropCrop water requirement (m3/ha) / Crop yield (ton/ha)

    Virtual water content of a livestock productVirtual water content of the live animalDistribute this volume over the different products from this animal

    Virtual water trade flowsTrade volume (ton/yr) Virtual water content (m3/ton)

  • Basic dataGlobal trade dataUnited Nations Statistics Division, New York

    Virtual water contentCrop water requirements (m3/ha): CROPWAT (FAO)Crop yields (ton/ha): FAOSTAT (FAO)

  • Virtual waterHistory of the concept1993-94Introduction of the concept by Tony Allan

    12/2002International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands

    03/2003Session on Virtual Water Trade and Geopolitics at the 3rd World Water Forum, Japan

  • Virtual waterState of current knowledgeThree global studies on virtual water trade.

    Some national studies on virtual water trade (Middle East, North Africa, Southern Africa, Japan, China).

    Knowledge on economic, environmental, social and cultural implications of current virtual water trade is nearly absent.

    Knowledge on how to use virtual water trade as a means to relieve pressure on worlds water resourcesce is very weak.

  • Global virtual water tradebetween nations (1995-1999)[Hoekstra, 2003]

    Volumebillion m3/yrPercentage%Crops and crop productsLivestock and livestock productsIndustrial products695245100672310Total1040100

  • Global virtual water tradebetween nations (1995-1999)[Hoekstra, 2003]30% wheat17% soybean15% rice 9% maize 7% raw sugar 5% barley

    Volumebillion m3/yrPercentage%Crops and crop productsLivestock and livestock productsIndustrial products695245100672310Total1040100

  • Global virtual water tradebetween nations (1995-1999)[Hoekstra, 2003]34%bovine meat16%bovine hides and leather12%cow milk &milk products10%swine and its products 8%live bovine 4%sheep and its products

    Volumebillion m3/yrPercentage%Crops and crop productsLivestock and livestock productsIndustrial products695245100672310Total1040100

  • Global virtual water tradebetween nations (1995-1999)[Hoekstra, 2003]= 16% of global water use!

    Volumebillion m3/yrPercentage%Crops and crop productsLivestock and livestock productsIndustrial products695245100672310Total1040100

  • Drawing a nationalvirtual water trade balance

    How much water goes into the country in the form of imported products?

    How much water leaves the country in the form of exported products?

  • Virtual water balance of the USA Net export of virtual water:164 Gm3/yr

  • Virtual water balance of the Thailand Net export of virtual water:46 Gm3/yr

  • Virtual water balance of the Japan Net import of virtual water:82 Gm3/yr

  • Virtual water balance of the China Net import of virtual water:19 Gm3/yr

    Water withdrawal:550 Gm3/yr

    Water availability:2800 Gm3/yr

  • National virtual water trade balances 1995-1999

  • Net virtual water exportNet virtual water importTop-7 list of countriesTop-7 list of countries

    Gm3/yr Gm3/yrUSA164Sri Lanka 84Canada64Japan 82Australia58Italy31Argentina52South Korea 30Thailand46Netherlands 25India34Indonesia23France22China19.............Period: 1995-1999

  • Virtual water Virtual waterexporters importers

    1. France1. Italy2.Ukraine2. Netherlands 3.Ireland 3. Spain.....4. Germany5. Russia6. Belgium-Luxembourg7. Portugal......EuropeNet export: 44% of Rhne runoffNet import: 67% of Po runoffNet import: 36% of Rhine runoff

  • Virtual water trade balances of thirteen world regions (1995-1999)Arrows show trade flows >100 Gm3

  • Ranking of regions (1995-1999)Gross virtual water importGross virtual water export

    Gm3 Gm3Central-South Asia1184North America 1317Western Europe 643South America 415North Africa 276Oceania 363Middle East 261Southeast Asia 347Southeast Asia 257Western Europe 266.............

  • the virtual water concept:what is the practical use?

  • 1. Virtual water: an alternative source of waterMany national economies depend on (net) import of virtual water. For the period 1995-99:

    Jordan80%Italy20%Netherlands80%Egypt20%Japan40%South Africa20%Tunesia50%China4%

  • 2. Virtual water trade: global water savingsMuch of the international virtual water trade takes place from nations where water productivity is relatively high to nations where water productivity is relatively low.

    global real water saving!

    450 billion m3/yr saving due to global food trade= 8% of global water use for crop production!

    [Oki et al., 2003]

  • 3. Virtual water trade: an additional means to improve water use efficiency

    Local water use efficiencyuser levelTechnology, water price, environmental awareness of the water userWater allocation efficiencynational / basin levelValue of water in its alternative usesGlobal water use efficiencyglobal levelVirtual water trade between water-scarce and water-abundant regions

  • 4. Virtual water trade: an alternative to real interbasin water transfersProposed large inter-basin water transfers:ChinaIndiaSouth AfricaSpain

    Alternative:Trade of water intensive products from water-rich to water-poor regions

  • 5. Virtual water storage: an alternative for dams[Renault, 2003]

  • 6. Calculation of national water footprints

    m3/yr per capitaChina, India, Indonesia500Mexico1000Netherlands, Belgium2000

  • Conclusion15-20% of the global water use is not used for domestic consumption but for export (in virtual form).

    This is the global percentage; the situation strongly varies between countries.

    The crude estimates show that it is very relevant to carry out virtual water analysis in any national or regional water policy study.

  • Future research agenda

    AccountingDevelop a common methodology and standards for virtual water accountingDiets and footprintsUnderstand the relation between consumption patterns, water needs, water scarcity and resulting virtual water tradeTradeAnalyse current trade flows, trade relations and dependencies; and develop projections under global change scenariosApplicationEnhance understanding of the implications of application of the virtual water concept on national and basin levelPolitical impactsEnhance understanding of virtual water trade on the position of sovereign nations and the political processes underlying decisonmakingAwareness and debateCreate a better understanding of consequences of conscious application

  • Thank you

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