A grid-based assessment of global water scarcity including virtual water trading

  • Islam M
  • Oki T
  • Kanae S
 et al. 
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Abstract

A 0.5-degree grid-based assessment of the scarcity of global water resources including virtual water trading has been made. The three components of water availability considered for each grid were local runoff, routed flow from upstream and virtual water trading. Several assumptions were postulated to convert country-base estimations of virtual water trading to grid values. The results show that unequal spatial distribution of global water resources had been considerably neutralized by virtual water trading. A large proportion of people in the Middle-East, North-Africa and Sub-Sahara region are able to relieve their water stress through virtual water import. The paper also reports two hypothetical scenarios with extremes of natural flow availability based on the presence and absence of routed upstream flow.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Global water scarcity
  • Grid-based analysis
  • Spatial distribution of stress
  • Virtual water trading
  • Water stress index

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