Title: An assessment of the virtual water balance for agricultural products in EU river basins
Citation: Water Resources and Industry vol. 1–2 p. 49–59
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC76799
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212371713000036
DOI: 10.1016/j.wri.2013.03.002
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In this paper the virtual water balance for agricultural products in river basins located in the EU28 (European Union and Croatia) is assessed. Only basins with a surface area larger than 1000 km2 are analysed. More specifically the net virtual water import of agricultural products (nVWi, agr) in these basins is assessed. The latter is defined as the difference between the water footprint of consumption (WFcons, agr) and the water footprint of production (WFprod, agr) for agricultural products. Overall the EU28 is a net VW importer for agricultural products, i.e. it imports more VW than it exports. However, there are large differences between different EU regions. River basins which are identified with high positive nVWi, agr values (net VW importer basins) include the densely populated and industrialised regions of western Europe like the Rhine, Elbe, Po, Seine, Scheldt or Thames basins. On the other hand high negative nVWi, agr values (net VW exporter basins) are observed for rural and sparsely populated river basins on the Iberian Peninsula (Guadiana, Ebro, Duero), in western France (Loire, Garonne) and the eastern Baltic region (Nemunas).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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