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Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade: The Birth and Growth of a New Research Field in Spain

1
Institute for Innovation & Sustainable Development in the Food Chain (IS-FOOD), Public University of Navarra (UPNA), Jerónimo de Ayanz Centre, Arrosadia Campus, 31006 Pamplona, Spain
2
Research Center for the Management of Environmental and Agricultural Risks (CEIGRAM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Complutense Avenue, 28040 Madrid, Spain
3
Water Observatory, Botín Foundation, Castelló 18C, 28001 Madrid, Spain
4
Royal Academy of Sciences of Spain, Valverde 22, 28004 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(9), 2641; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092641
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 8 September 2020 / Accepted: 14 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Memory of Prof. Arjen Y. Hoekstra)
The growth in the number of studies applying and expanding the concepts of the water footprint and virtual water trade in Spain has generated a wealth of lessons and reflections about the scarcity, allocation, productive use, and management of water from the viewpoint of a semi-arid country. This paper reviews the evolution of this research field in Spain since its introduction in 2005 and reflects on its main contributions and issues of debate. It shows how these concepts can be useful tools for integrated water accounting and raising awareness, when used with certain precautions: (1) Supply-chain thinking, taking into account value chains and the implications of trade, generally ignored in water management, can help to address water scarcity issues and sustainable water use. (2) Green water accounting incorporates land use and soil management, which greatly influences hydrological functioning. (3) The grey water footprint indicator analyzes pollution from an ecosystem point of view and facilitates the understanding of the water quantity and quality relationship. (4) Apparent water productivity analysis, innovatively incorporated into Spanish studies, considers the economic and social aspects associated with water use. However, the decision-making context should be broader, contextualizing and complementing water information with other indicators. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; virtual water trade; apparent water productivity; supply chain; water scarcity; water management; Spain water footprint; virtual water trade; apparent water productivity; supply chain; water scarcity; water management; Spain
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MDPI and ACS Style

Aldaya, M.M.; Garrido, A.; Llamas, R. Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade: The Birth and Growth of a New Research Field in Spain. Water 2020, 12, 2641. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092641

AMA Style

Aldaya MM, Garrido A, Llamas R. Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade: The Birth and Growth of a New Research Field in Spain. Water. 2020; 12(9):2641. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092641

Chicago/Turabian Style

Aldaya, Maite M., Alberto Garrido, and Ramón Llamas. 2020. "Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade: The Birth and Growth of a New Research Field in Spain" Water 12, no. 9: 2641. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092641

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