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UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft (2006)

Assessing potential virtual water flow from economic water scarce countries

Alemu, D.

Titre : Assessing potential virtual water flow from economic water scarce countries

Auteur : Alemu, D.

Université de soutenance : UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2006

Virtual water is defined as the volume of water behind any product. The richwater-rich nations are benefiting from large volumes of virtual water exportin terms of cereal trade. On the contrary, the poor water-rich (economicwater scarce) nations are not so fortunate to benefit from such export.Assessing the potential of these economic water scarce countries to exportvirtual water in terms of cereal export is of paramount significance in thecourse of formulating policies related to food security and food selfsufficiency. On the other hand, data on national renewable water resourcesare suffering a huge volume of unaccounted water resources component,which is green water. Hence, an assessment of national renewable waterresources and making the required adjustment is indispensable prior toassessing the potential virtual water flow from the economic water scarcecountries.A study conducted on selected countries has disclosed that if green water isaccounted, Ethiopia’s annual renewable water resources volume willincrease by 68%. And the change for Sudan will be 89%. Even the nowcategorized physical water scarce country Tunisia will add its renewablewater resources volume by 79%. Cereal demand for the year 2025 andpotential supply has been estimated using Policy Dialogue Model(PODIUM). Under worst case scenario (high variant population, high percapita calorie intake level, trend level crop yield ), Ethiopia will need toimport 20 million metric tons of cereal by 2025 even if it uses the entirearable land for cereal production under rain fed expansion strategy. And animport of 8 million metric tons will be required under irrigation expansionstrategy. The respective figures for Sudan under similar circumstances arean import of 3 million metric tons under rain fed expansion strategy and noimport under irrigation expansion strategy. Under the best case scenario(medium variant population growth, trend level per capita calorie intake,high level crop yield), Ethiopia can produce a surplus of 25 million metrictons under irrigation expansion strategy and 6 million metric tons under rainfed expansion strategy. The figure for Sudan is 52 and 46 million metrictons respectively. Hence, taking the best case scenario, Ethiopia has apotential of exporting up to 25% of its renewable water resources in theform of virtual water export while Sudan having a potential of 27%.However, related assessments with respect to economic feasibilities arehighly recommended.

Sujets  : virtual water renewable resources cereals exports water scarcity


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