An Introduction to Virtual Water and Implications for International Trade

By Jenny Kehl.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Scholars across multiple academic disciplines, sciences and social sciences, are studying the effects of climate change on water scarcity, and developing new ways of analyzing water issues.
One of the new conceptual frameworks is virtual water, the amount of embedded water used to produce agricultural and industrial goods. Virtual water is traded by selling water-intensive products in the international market. The purpose of this paper is to examine the scientific characteristics and political implications of virtual water exports, in the interest of promoting new thinking about water management. The paper is divided into three sections: the first section introduces the concept of virtual water and its practical importance. The subsequent section discusses the relationship between water politics, agricultural economics, and international trade. The final section describes the advances made in science and engineering to measure virtual water and quantify international water transfer, and the importance of those scientific advances for informing and reforming water trade policy.

Keywords: Climate Change, Water Scarcity, Virtual Water, Science and Politics

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.83-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 730.742KB).

Prof. Jenny Kehl

Department of Political Science, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, USA

Dr. Kehl’s research interests include international investment, hydropolitics, water scarcity, conflict resolution. Prof. Kehl teaches comparative politics and economic development at Rutgers University.