Are virtual water "flows" in Spanish grain trade consistent with relative water scarcity?
Virtual water adds a new dimension to international trade, and brings along a new perspective about water scarcity and water resource management. Most virtual water literature has focused on quantifying virtual water "flows" and on its application to ensure water and food security. Nevertheless, the analysis of the potential gains from international trade, at least from a water resources perspective, needs to take into account both spatial and temporal variations of blue (groundwater and stream flow) and green (soil moisture) water, as well as the socioeconomic and policy conditions. This paper evaluates whether Spanish international trade with grains is consistent with relative water scarcity. For this purpose, the study estimates the volume and economic value of virtual water "flow" through international grain trade for the period 1997-2005, which includes 3years with different rainfall levels. The calculations show that Spain is a net virtual water "importer" through international grain trade. The volume of net virtual water "imports" amounts to 3420, 4383 and 8415million m3 in wet (1997), medium (1999) and dry (2005) years, respectively. Valuing blue water at its shadow price or scarcity value, blue water "exports" oscillate between 0.7 and 34.2million Euros for a wet and dry year, respectively. Overall, grain trade is apparently consistent with relative water scarcity as net imports increase in dry years. However, the evolution of grain exports, expressed as a variation in quantity and volume, does not match the variations in resource scarcity. A disaggregated crop analysis reveals that there are other factors, such as quality, product specialization or the demand for a standardized product, which also influence trade decisions and are not included in the notion of virtual water. These facts, among others, can therefore create potential distortions in the application of virtual water to the analysis of specific trade patterns. Nevertheless, from a water resources perspective, virtual water can bring important insights across countries for improving water and land management globally, fostering adaptation strategies to climate change and to transboundary resource management.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Javier Calatrava & Alberto Garrido, 2005. "Spot water markets and risk in water supply," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 33(2), pages 131-143, 09.
- Iglesias, Eva & Garrido, Alberto & Gomez-Ramos, Almudena, 2003. "Evaluation of drought management in irrigated areas," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 211-229, October.
- Kumar, M. Dinesh & Singh, Om Prakash, . "Virtual water in global food and water policy making: is there a need for rethinking?," Papers published in Journals (Open Access) h036595, International Water Management Institute.
- José Albiac, 2006. "The Case of the Water Framework Directive and Irrigation in Mediterranean Agriculture," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2006-34, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
- Chapagain, A.K. & Hoekstra, A.Y. & Savenije, H.H.G. & Gautam, R., 2006. "The water footprint of cotton consumption: An assessment of the impact of worldwide consumption of cotton products on the water resources in the cotton producing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 186-203, November.
- Aldaya, M.M. & Allan, J.A. & Hoekstra, A.Y., 2010. "Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 887-894, February.
- Wichelns, Dennis, 2004. "The policy relevance of virtual water can be enhanced by considering comparative advantages," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 49-63, April.
- Velazquez, Esther, 2006. "An input-output model of water consumption: Analysing intersectoral water relationships in Andalusia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 226-240, February.
- Iglesias, Eva & Garrido, Alberto & Gomez-Ramos, Almudena, 2003. "Evaluation of drought management in irrigated areas," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 29(2), October.
- Yang, Hong & Zehnder, Alexander J. B., 2002. "Water Scarcity and Food Import: A Case Study for Southern Mediterranean Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1413-1430, August.
- M. Kumar & O. Singh, 2005. "Virtual Water in Global Food and Water Policy Making: Is There a Need for Rethinking?," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 19(6), pages 759-789, December.
- Duarte, Rosa & Sanchez-Choliz, Julio & Bielsa, Jorge, 2002. "Water use in the Spanish economy: an input-output approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 71-85, November.
- Dinar, Ariel & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, 1997. "Water allocation mechanisms : principles and examples," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1779, The World Bank.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:5:p:1454-1464. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.