Inequalities in the networks of virtual water flow
Article first published online: 3 AUG 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 93, Issue 32, pages 309–310, 7 August 2012
How to Cite
2012), Inequalities in the networks of virtual water flow, Eos Trans. AGU, 93(32), 309., , , and , (
- Issue published online: 3 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 3 AUG 2012
- virtual water;
- water security;
The globalization of water associated with the trade of food commodities [Hoekstra and Chapagain, 2008] has often been acclaimed as a means to save water, mitigate the effect of regional- and local-scale water scarcity, and meet the demand for food in overpopulated and water-poor countries [Allan, 1998]. However, there are negative implications for water use from globalization of trade. For instance, globalization disconnects populations from local sustainable freshwater use [Allan, 1998; D'Odorico et al., 2010]. This distance between societies and the resources on which they rely is a major obstacle to the emergence of behaviors that foster ecosystem stewardship [Chapin et al., 2009] through a responsible management of the environment. The globalization of water is also expected to reduce societal resilience to drought by decreasing the redundancy of freshwater resources, thereby limiting opportunities to meet human needs during periods of crisis [D'Odorico et al., 2010]. Overall, globalization enhances inequalities in the way different societies may have access to freshwater resources [Chapin et al., 2009]. In fact, only a few countries control most of the water that is virtually exchanged—through food trade—in the global market.