The increasing global demand for food, fibers, and biofuels has made investments in agriculture a priority for some governments and corporations eager to expand their agricultural production while securing good profits. Here we calculate the water appropriation associated with land deals at different negotiation and implementation stages. Using estimates of actual and potential evapotranspiration for the crops planted in the acquired land, we calculate the green and blue water appropriated by land investors under a variety of irrigation scenarios. We also determine the grey water footprint as the amount of water required to dilute to allowable standards the pollution resulting from fertilizer applications. We found that about 380 × 109 m3 yr−1 of rainwater is appropriated with the 43 million ha of reported contract area acquired by agri-investors (>240 × 109 m3 yr−1 in the 29 million ha of foreign acquisitions only). This water would be sufficient to feed ≈ 300–390 million people.
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