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Open AccessArticle

The Water Footprint of European Agricultural Imports: Hotspots in the Context of Water Scarcity

1
Chair of Sustainable Engineering, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
2
Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V., Brot für die Welt—Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst, Caroline-Michaelis-Straße 1, 10115 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2019, 8(3), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8030141
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 1 August 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 7 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Water Scarcity in Agriculture)
This study investigates the Water Footprint (WF) resulting from the agricultural imports of the European Union (EU-28). Import trade statistics were compiled and linked with crop- and country-specific water consumption data and water scarcity factors. Within the study, the virtual water imports of 104 agricultural commodities for the baseline year 2015 were assessed and product and country hotspots were evaluated. It was shown that (a) Europe imported 100 million tons of agricultural goods and 11 km3 of associated virtual irrigation water; (b) the highest impacts of water consumption do not necessarily result from high import amounts, but from water-intensive goods produced in water scarce countries; (c) the largest external EU-28 water footprint occurred due to the product categories cotton, nuts and rice; and (d) the highest share of the EU external water footprint took place in the United States (US), Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt and India. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; water scarcity; virtual water trade; agricultural water use; agricultural imports water footprint; water scarcity; virtual water trade; agricultural water use; agricultural imports
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dolganova, I.; Mikosch, N.; Berger, M.; Núñez, M.; Müller-Frank, A.; Finkbeiner, M. The Water Footprint of European Agricultural Imports: Hotspots in the Context of Water Scarcity. Resources 2019, 8, 141.

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