The effect of globalization on water consumption: a case study of spanish virtual water trade, 1849-1935
This paper aims to analyse the impact on water consumption of the trade expansion of the first globalization era. To that end, we choose the case of Spain, a semi-arid country with significant cyclical water shortages that excelled as an exporter of agricultural and food products in the period of study. More specifically, we are interested in answering the following questions: What was the volume of water embodied in agricultural and food products exports, how did this variable evolve over time, what factors drove this evolution and what was the volume of water incorporated in imports of these products?. In short, we want to know the impact on water resources of Spain’s entry into agriculture and food markets. To explore these issues, we will use the concepts of virtual water and virtual water trade. First, we examine virtual water trade flows in the long run. Further, we attempt to disentangle certain major drivers underlying these trajectories. In order to establish the role played by trade in the final net balance of water, a Structural Decomposition Analysis (SDA) is applied. Finally, an analysis of the implications of the increase in virtual water trade on water resources is carried out.
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