The Globalisation of Virtual Water Flows
The explosive growth of international trade has turned water into a traded commodity. Research into the water footprint of goods has revealed the true extent of the situation. It takes 650 litres of water to produce 1 pound (500g) of wheat, 2500 litres of water to produce enough meat for a burger and a staggering 4650 litres to produce a 300g beef steak. Countries who export substantial volumes of crop and animal products are now experiencing water shortages; India, the USA and Australia being three major examples where water shortages have led to wide-scale conservation efforts. We have created an infographic below which highlights the globalisation of virtual water flows and breaks down the activities of the top 5 net importers and exporters of virtual water.