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Leveraging an Exploratory Scenario Analysis to Uncover Key Drivers of Future Virtual Water Trade and Global Utilization of Water

Presentation Date
Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 2:10pm - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 6:30pm
MC - Poster Hall A-C - South



Globalization has brought increased access to agricultural trade around the world, which continues to rapidly expand. This allows regions to meet agricultural demands through a combination of domestic production and trade. These traded goods redistribute water, virtually, around the world. Virtual water trade is an increasingly active area of research, but gaps remain in our understanding of how alternative futures may change the key drivers in agricultural virtual water trade and the water resources required to meet global demand. Here, we conduct an exploratory analysis of the impacts that varying socioeconomic futures, energy transitions, regional trade, and climatic impacts have on global and regional water resources. We utilize the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) to capture the evolving multisector dynamics brought upon through the interconnectedness of human and Earth systems. We model a suite of 7680 exploratory futures and leverage a Classification and Regression Tree (CART) Analysis to determine key drivers of water resource utilization and virtual water trade. This represents the most comprehensive investigation of future virtual water trade and water utilization drivers to date and provides an understanding of how regional teleconnections and future socioenvironmental change may shape local water requirements for meeting future global agricultural demands.

Funding Program Area(s)