Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
Can virtual water 'trade' reduce water scarcity in semi-arid countries? The case of Spain
Áreas de investigación
  • Política agraria
Defined as the volume of water used in producing a commodity, good or service (Allan, 1998), the `virtual water¿ concept is strongly linked to water productivity and economic geography. From a neoclassical political economy perspective, the logic of virtual water prescribes that water rich countries should produce and export water intensive commodities to water scarce countries (Wichelns, 2004; Roth and Warner, 2008). But, because water is not the main or the uniquely scarce input in practically all traded goods, water scarcity is a poor explanatory factor of virtual water `trade¿. Agricultural trade is by far the largest vehicle to move water virtually around the world. Globally, the volume of virtual water associated with crop trade is about 15% of the total water use in crop production. From this 15% only 20% of this virtual water `trade¿ seems to be due to water scarcity (Yang and Zehnder, 2008). Other key factors, including per capita cropped area and access to secure markets, are powerful explanatory factors of virtual water `flows¿ (Ma et al., 2006; Verma et al., 2008). Similarly, New Trade Theory argues that international trade is based on imperfect competition and economies of scale. In this respect, other factors than water determine trade. Yang and Zehnder (2007) conclude that the unique nature of water resources (i.e. mobility, time and spatial variability, climate-dependent production) has challenged the economic analysis of virtual water `trade¿ from the comparative-advantage classical perspective. For the time being most of virtual water studies have focused on hydrological aspects. In this context, the present study expects to be a down-to-earth contribution to the virtual water debate, contributing with actual and detailed evaluations of virtual water `trade¿ in Spain.
Entidad relacionada
XXVII Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists
Nacionalidad Entidad
Sin nacionalidad
Lugar del congreso
Beijing, China
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Alberto Garrido Colmenero (UPM)
  • Autor: Paula Novo Núñez (UPM)
  • Autor: Roberto Rodriguez Casado (UPM)
  • Autor: Consuelo Varela Ortega (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Economía Agraria y Gestión de los Recursos Naturales
  • Centro o Instituto I+D+i: Centro de Estudios e Investigación para la Gestión de Riesgos Agrarios Medioambientales (CEIGRAM)
  • Departamento: Economía y Ciencias Sociales Agrarias
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