Alexandria, Va. -- "Virtual water" was coined in 1993 to help explain why long-predicted water wars driven by water and food security had not occurred among the arid nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The virtual water notion refers basically to the total amount of freshwater, either from rainfall or irrigation, used in the production of food commodities, including crops and fodder-fed livestock, or other goods and services -- agricultural, industrial or otherwise. Taking root in the late 1990s across a range of disciplines, the concept has since expanded and evolved.
Today, virtual water has been cited by many as a potentially valuable tool for influencing trade and water policies to promote conservation and combat water scarcity. Trading in virtual water between water-rich and water-poor regions has been suggested as a means to allay water scarcity. Read more about how the virtual water concept has gained a foothold among a number of governments and multinational businesses in the October issue of EARTH magazine: http://bit.
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