Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Future Changes in the Trading of Virtual Water

TitleFuture Changes in the Trading of Virtual Water
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Number1
Abstract / Summary

Water stressed regions rely heavily on the import of water-intensive goods to offset insufficient food production driven by socioeconomic and environmental factors. The water embedded in these traded commodities, virtual water, has received increasing interest in the scientific community. However, comprehensive future projections of virtual water trading remain absent. Here we show, for the first time, changes over the 21st century in the amount of various water types required to meet international agricultural demands. Accounting for evolution in socioeconomic and climatic conditions, we estimate future interregional virtual water trading and find trading of renewable water sources may triple by 2100 while nonrenewable groundwater trading may at least double. Basins in North America, and the La Plata and Nile Rivers are found to contribute extensively to virtual water exports, while much of Africa, India, and the Middle East relies heavily on virtual water imports by the end of the century.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17400-4
DOI10.1038/s41467-020-17400-4
Funding Program: 
Journal: Nature Communications
Year of Publication: 2020
Volume: 11
Number: 1
Publication Date: 12/2020

Water stressed regions rely heavily on the import of water-intensive goods to offset insufficient food production driven by socioeconomic and environmental factors. The water embedded in these traded commodities, virtual water, has received increasing interest in the scientific community. However, comprehensive future projections of virtual water trading remain absent. Here we show, for the first time, changes over the 21st century in the amount of various water types required to meet international agricultural demands. Accounting for evolution in socioeconomic and climatic conditions, we estimate future interregional virtual water trading and find trading of renewable water sources may triple by 2100 while nonrenewable groundwater trading may at least double. Basins in North America, and the La Plata and Nile Rivers are found to contribute extensively to virtual water exports, while much of Africa, India, and the Middle East relies heavily on virtual water imports by the end of the century.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17400-4
Citation:
Graham, N, M Hejazi, S Kim, E Davies, J Edmonds, and F Miralles-Wilhelm.  2020.  "Future Changes in the Trading of Virtual Water."  Nature Communications 11(1).  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17400-4.