Hi-Fella Insights

Virtual Water: The Hidden Resource in Our Daily Lives

Have you ever thought about Virtual Water? Yes, you read it correctly. Virtual Water. 

In addition to the drinking water or beverage products you consume every day, there is another “water” stored in food, electronics, clothing, and even the pages of the books you read.

This virtual water even impacts the long-term economic and energy development of a country to the world.

Curious? Here’s the explanation of what is virtual water exactly about and its impact in this world!

What is Virtual Water?

The term virtual water can be defined as the amount of water used in the production process of a commodity produced by agriculture or industry. 

The idea of virtual water was initially introduced by Tony Allan from the University of London in the early 1990s. Nowadays, certain nations facing water scarcity have begun incorporating the concept of virtual water into their global trade practices.

This concept, which has shed light on the contradictory nature of water movement from regions with an excess to those in crisis, was initially brought up in an international conference held in December 2002 in Delft, the Netherlands.

Why is Virtual Water Important?

In recent decades, population growth, urbanization and global economic growth have significantly increased water demand. This has led to the aforementioned crisis.

The concept of virtual water was created to understand and quantify the relationship between water use and international trade.

The concept of virtual water was born as an attempt to;

  1. Addressing the water crisis.
  2. Analyzing regional imbalances.
  3. Reducing environmental burdens.
  4. Understanding and improving consumption patterns.
  5. Improving water resource management.

Through these efforts, we hope to help us plan and take wiser actions in managing water resources amidst global challenges related to water and the environment.

Virtual Water in Our Everyday Products 

Analysis of virtual water results in a water footprint. 

What is Virtual Water Footprint?

Water footprint is defined as the total volume of freshwater used to produce goods or services that are consumed by individuals and communities, or by businesses. This time we will discuss the water footprint of 2 consumers, food and goods.

Food Water Footprint

The water footprint of food and beverages is huge. Here are the details:

Retrieved from The Water Footprint Network

Just imagine, how many water footprints are in your meal if you order a steak with salad and a cup of coffee during the day.

Consumer Good Water Footprint

Some of the things we use every day carry even more water footprints than what we eat. Here are the details!

Retrieved from The Water Footprint Network

Now that you’ve had your lunch of steak, salad and a cup of coffee. You drive off in the car with your cell phone and after the new clothes you wore for the afternoon meeting. How much water footprint have you carried? 🤔

Global Impact of Virtual Water

Through the explanation above, Virtual Water has certainly had a big impact on the world. 

Such as the impact on the economy in the import-export industry, climate crisis mitigation, conflict prevention due to water shortages, awareness and policy development.

Seeing the impact on the world, what can I do?

You are part of the world and there are many things you can do. Like learning to save water, being mindful when using resources and buying things, and not polluting the environment and other small things.

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