At global scale, the majority of world water withdrawal is for the agricultural sector, with differences among countries depending on the relevance of agri-food sector in the economy. Virtual water and water footprint could be useful to express the impact on the water resources of each production process and good with the objective to lead to a sustainable use of water at a global level. International trade could be connected to the virtual water flows, in fact through commodities importation, water poor countries can save their own water resources. The present paper focuses on the bilateral virtual water flows connected to the top ten agri-food products traded between Italy and China. Comparing the virtual water flow related to the top 10 agri-food products, the virtual water flow from Italy to China is bigger than the water flow in the opposite direction. Moreover, the composition of virtual water flows is different; Italy imports significant amounts of grey water from China, depending on the different environmental strategies adopted by the two selected countries. This difference could be also related to the fact that traded commodities are very different; the 91% of virtual water imported by Italy is connected to crops products, while the 95% of virtual water imported by China is related to the animal products. Considering national water saving and global water saving, appears that Italy imports virtual water from China while China exerts pressure on its water resources to supply the exports to Italy. This result at global scale implies a global water loss of 129.29 million m3 because, in general, the agri-food products are traded from the area with lower water productivity to the area with the higher water productivity.
- Environmental Chemistry
- Environmental Engineering
- Virtual water
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Water footprint