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Title:The relation between international trade and freshwater scarcity PDF Logo
Authors:Hoekstra, Arjen
Issue Date:2010
Series/Report no.:WTO Staff Working Paper ERSD-2010-05
Abstract:It is becoming increasingly important to put freshwater issues in a global context. Local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. With increasing trade between nations and continents, water is more frequently used to produce exported goods. International trade in commodities implies long-distance transfers of water in virtual form, where virtual water is understood as the volume of water that has been used to produce a commodity and that is thus virtually embedded in it. Knowledge about the virtual-water flows entering and leaving a country can cast a completely new light on the actual water scarcity of a country. For example, Jordan imports about 5 to 7 billion m3 of virtual water per year, which is in sharp contrast with the 1 billion m3 of water withdrawn annually from domestic water sources. This means that people in Jordan apparently survive owing to the import of water-intensive commodities from elsewhere, for example the USA.
Subjects:Water resources management
International trade
Virtual-water trade
Water footprint
Water-use efficiency
Product transparency
Water pricing
Water labelling
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:WTO Staff Working Papers, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO

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