Estimation of the virtual water trade between two Spanish regions: Castilla-la Mancha and Murcia

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Virtual water is defined as the water needed to produce a product. We can use virtual water flow calculations to estimate the water efficiency of a country, as well as its economic dependence on water resources. Former studies on this area have focused on quantifying the virtual water flows between countries, in an international context. In this study we reduce the action framework to regions within a country, determining the virtual water balance between two Spanish regions: Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia. In 2004, Castilla-La Mancha exported to Murcia 2,453,442 tons of commercial products, from which 1,191,628 tons were agricultural goods. In terms of virtual water, it means 1,365 hm3, including food-processing, and industrial products. It is necessary to add 350 hm3 to the result, because of the water transfer (Tajo-Segura transfer) between the rivers basins of these regions, so the final virtual water number, in 2004, was 1,715 hm3. The other way round, Murcia exported in 2004 2,069,000 tons of products, from which 490,351 tons were agricultural goods. That supposes 712 hm3 of virtual water. Virtual water flow is unbalanced and displaced towards Murcia with a difference of 1,003 hm3.

Keywords: flow of goods, virtual water, virtual water trade, water consumption

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