7  Ecosystem Impacts of Virtual Water Embodied in Global Trade of Agricultural Products

Hong Yang, Junguo Liu, Alexander J. B. Zehnder and Johan Rockström

Introduction

With continuous population growth and related developments, water resources have become increasingly scarce in a growing number of countries and regions in the world. As the largest water user, accounting for around 80 percent of the global total water withdrawal (Molden 2007), agricultural production is directly affected by water scarcity. In many water-scarce countries, an increasing amount of food is being imported to meet the domestic food demand. For these countries, importing food is virtually equivalent to importing water that would otherwise be needed for producing the ...

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