Special Issue "Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 January 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rosa Duarte
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economic Analysis, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universidad de Zaragoza and Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (UNIZAR-CITA), Gran Vía 2, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: multisectoral modelling, input–output, ecological economics, water economics, structural and tecnological change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Vicente Pinilla
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Economics, Universidad de Zaragoza and Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (UNIZAR-CITA), Gran Vía 2, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: economic history, environmental history, agricultural history, wine economics, water economics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ana Serrano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economic Analysis, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universidad de Zaragoza and Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (UNIZAR-CITA), Gran Vía 2, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: water economics, environmental history, input–output modelling, economics of natural resources

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last century, globalization has been recognized as a key driver of unprecedented global economic growth. However, the local specialization and competition processes behind the integration of world economies have triggered rising impacts on natural resources, which have been exchanged and “embodied” in international trade flows. This phenomenon entails a clear mismatch between the producer and consumer views and their environmental responsibilities through global supply chains.

Within this context, the virtual water trade aims to reflect the impact of international trade on water resources on the basis of the virtual water  and water footprint  ideas. Given the prevalence of agriculture as the main water consumer in the world, this concept has been mainly applied to agricultural and food products, connecting global trade processes with local and specific pressures on natural resources. Applications of the virtual water trade have shown the unbalances between local water resources and intensive agricultural production oriented to foreign markets as well as the potential opportunity for some arid areas to reduce local water pressures by importing water-intensive products, that is, through virtual water imports.

In recent decades, there has been an important body of literature addressing the measurement of the virtual water trade at different geographical scales and in relation to numerous products.

However, the relationships between water and other closely linked and limiting resources such as land use and quality, irrigation technologies, sun irradiation, temperature and institutional water frameworks provide new challenges for the definition and application of virtual water trade measurement. Moreover, many other fields where the application of the virtual water trade concept could provide important information arise.

This Special Issue aims to bring together recent developments on the virtual water trade from a wide range of perspectives. Both methodological and empirical contributions are welcome, as well as international case studies at different geographical scales and time spans. This includes historical perspectives, theoretical discussions, policy design, micro and macro approaches, footprint analyses, international and regional studies, multiregional and multisectoral approaches, structural decomposition and scenario analysis, among others.

Prof. Dr. Rosa Duarte
Prof. Dr. Vicente Pinilla
Dr. Ana Serrano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Virtual water trade
  • MRIO models
  • Environmental history
  • Water economics
  • Globalization impacts
  • Water footprint

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Macroeconomic Accounting of Water Resources: An Input-Output Approach to Linkage Analysis and Impact Indicators Applied to the State of Ceará, Brazil
Water 2021, 13(6), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060869 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
This work aims to identify the key sectors of the economic structure, considering their water flows, and estimate each sector’s impact. The goal is to highlight systemic characteristics in the regional economy, establish water use priorities, and assess water security. Based on a [...] Read more.
This work aims to identify the key sectors of the economic structure, considering their water flows, and estimate each sector’s impact. The goal is to highlight systemic characteristics in the regional economy, establish water use priorities, and assess water security. Based on a regional input-output matrix, we use the following methodologies: the Rasmussen and Hirschman indices for the ‘forward and backward linkages’; simple multipliers of production, job, and income; and the elasticity of water consumption to final water demand. Thirty-two economic sectors and household consumption are analysed. From the elasticity of final water demand, we find that both trade and household consumption put more pressure on water consumption. Furthermore, a joint analysis of the applied methodologies shows that: (a) the trade sector is more relevant for the linkage of water flows, (b) the agriculture sector has the highest direct water consumption, and (c) the public administration sector has the highest intermediate water consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
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Article
Water–Food Nexus through the Lens of Virtual Water Flows: The Case of India
Water 2021, 13(6), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060768 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1054
Abstract
For a water-secure present and future, there is a need for a transition from water scarcity towards water security. This transition necessitates a look at the complex relationships, and interdependencies, between water and other resources, and the institutions governing them. Nexus approach encompasses [...] Read more.
For a water-secure present and future, there is a need for a transition from water scarcity towards water security. This transition necessitates a look at the complex relationships, and interdependencies, between water and other resources, and the institutions governing them. Nexus approach encompasses these interdependencies. This paper focused on the water–food nexus through the lens of the virtual water (VW) flows concept with the aim to explore the role of the VW flows concept in governing the transition towards water security in a water-scarce economy like India. The key findings of the paper suggests that the highest VW outflows are from highly water-scarce states of India, such as Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, and the moderate to highly water-scarce state West Bengal from 1996–2014. Major VW outflows from these states are to other highly water-scarce states, resulting in the concentration of water scarcity. The main priorities for the governance of the water–food nexus in these states emerge from policies and action plans. These priorities are groundwater overexploitation, water and soil pollution, and uncertainty in rainfall and are linked to agricultural intensification. The water footprint-based VW flow analysis has important insights for sustainable intensification of agriculture, and rectification of the unsustainable VW flow patterns. The study concludes that the VW flows concept embodies the water–food nexus and is particularly relevant for the sustainable future of developing and emerging economies, such as India, grappling with water scarcity and challenges of fragmented environmental governance systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
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Article
Theoretical and Empirical Characterization of Water as a Factor: Examples and Related Issues with the World Trade Model
Water 2021, 13(4), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040459 - 10 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 780
Abstract
This article originates from the theoretical and empirical characterization of factors in the World Trade Model (WTM). It first illustrates the usefulness of this type of model for water research to address policy questions related to virtual water trade, water constraints and water [...] Read more.
This article originates from the theoretical and empirical characterization of factors in the World Trade Model (WTM). It first illustrates the usefulness of this type of model for water research to address policy questions related to virtual water trade, water constraints and water scarcity. It also illustrates the importance of certain key decisions regarding the heterogeneity of water and its relation to the technologies being employed and the prices obtained. With regard to WTM, the global economic input–output model in which multiple technologies can produce a “homogeneous output”, it was recently shown that two different mechanisms should be distinguished by which multiple technologies can arise, i.e., from “technology-specific” or from “shared” factors, which implies a mechanism-specific set of prices, quantities and rents. We discuss and extend these characterizations, notably in relation to the real-world characterization of water as a factor (for which we use the terms technology specific, fully shared and “mixed”). We propose that the presence of these separate mechanisms results in the models being sensitive to relatively small variations in specific numerical values. To address this sensitivity, we suggest a specific role for specific (sub)models or key choices to counter unrealistic model outcomes. To support our proposal we present a selection of simulations for aggregated world regions, and show how key results concerning quantities, prices and rents can be subject to considerable change depending on the precise definitions of resource endowments and the technology-specificity of the factors. For instance, depending on the adopted water heterogeneity level, outcomes can vary from relatively low-cost solutions to higher cost ones and can even reach infeasibility. In the main model discussed here (WTM) factor prices are exogenous, which also contributes to the overall numerical sensitivity of the model. All this affects to a large extent our interpretation of the water challenges, which preferably need to be assessed in integrated frameworks, to account for the main socioeconomic variables, technologies and resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
Article
Assessment of Inter-Sectoral Virtual Water Reallocation and Linkages in the Northern Tianshan Mountains, China
Water 2020, 12(9), 2363; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092363 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
Quantitative analysis of the reallocation and linkages of virtual water in the economic sector was important for the integrated water resources management in inland arid regions. Taking the northern Tianshan Mountains (NTM) as an example, we applied the environmental input-output model to design [...] Read more.
Quantitative analysis of the reallocation and linkages of virtual water in the economic sector was important for the integrated water resources management in inland arid regions. Taking the northern Tianshan Mountains (NTM) as an example, we applied the environmental input-output model to design the accounting framework for the reallocation of blue and green virtual water (VW) in the economic sector and analyzed the correlation effect of VW reallocation among various sectors by backward and forward linkages in economic analysis. The results showed that the direct blue and green water consumption of primary industry respectively accounted for 99.2% and 100% of the total water consumption in NTM. Planting sector had the largest amount of VW outflow among all sectors. Animal husbandry, forestry and construction had a large pulling effect on VW outflow of planting sector, while planting sector and animal husbandry were the main sectors for VW export of blue and green water. We suggest that the government can increase the import of blue-green VW for agricultural raw materials through VW trade and develop industries such as service and electricity that have less pulling effect on the primary industry VW, so as to improve the economic added value of VW in the primary industry and reduce the loss of VW in primary industry production and trade flows in future water management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
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Article
The Blue Water Footprint of the Spanish Wine Industry: 1935–2015
Water 2020, 12(7), 1872; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071872 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 816
Abstract
The impact of economic growth on natural resources and the environment constitutes a fundamental topic in current research. In particular, water, a fundamental resource for human beings, has been subject to intense pressure in recent decades. Within this context, this article examines the [...] Read more.
The impact of economic growth on natural resources and the environment constitutes a fundamental topic in current research. In particular, water, a fundamental resource for human beings, has been subject to intense pressure in recent decades. Within this context, this article examines the growth of the blue water footprint of the Spanish wine industry and its environmental impact. In order to do this, we will first calculate the blue water footprint of wine, using a bottom-up methodology. Our methodology introduces certain advances with respect to those usually used. Our results show a very fast increase of the blue water footprint from 1995, which has multiplied six-fold in twenty years with an extreme concentration in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, which accounts for 70% of this increase. The expansion of irrigated vine growing in this region has played a relevant role in the serious problems suffered by its aquifers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
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Article
Living at the Water’s Edge: A World-Wide Econometric Panel Estimation of Arable Water Footprint Drivers
Water 2020, 12(4), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041060 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1071
Abstract
As part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for ensuring clean water and sanitation worldwide by 2030, SDG target 6.4 seeks to attain sustainable withdrawals of freshwater through efficiency gains with a view to relieving water stress in vulnerable populated areas. The water [...] Read more.
As part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for ensuring clean water and sanitation worldwide by 2030, SDG target 6.4 seeks to attain sustainable withdrawals of freshwater through efficiency gains with a view to relieving water stress in vulnerable populated areas. The water footprint (WF) is a key metric to measure this concept, although the dynamics of the drivers of the WF through space and time remain relatively under-researched, whilst in foresight studies, the WF is often subject to simplistic assumptions. Thus, constructing a panel dataset of 130 countries and 156 crops for the period 2002–2016, this paper empirically assesses the sign and magnitude of WF drivers of agricultural crop activities, employing a careful selection of demographic, economic and climatic drivers. The study uncovers evidence of significant deviations in WF drivers across regions segmented by relative wealth, relating specifically to the stage of economic development and the presence (absence) of economies of scale, whilst we confirm that geographical coordinates have a major bearing on the climatic WF driver. Moreover, examining the temporal dimension, there is compelling evidence supporting a structural break in the role that technical progress exerted on the WF prior to, and in the wake of, the 2008 financial crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Water Trade and Water Resources Economics)
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