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Water flows in the Spanish economy: agri-food sectors, trade and households diets in an input-output framework

Water flows in the Spanish economy: agri-food sectors, trade and households diets in an input-output framework

Environmental Science and Technology 46(12): 6530-6538

Seeking to advance our knowledge of water flows and footprints and the factors underlying them, we apply, on the basis of an extended 2004 Social Accounting Matrix for Spain, an open Leontief model in which households and foreign trade are the exogenous accounts. The model shows the water embodied in products bought by consumers (which we identify with the Water Footprint) and in trade (identified with virtual water trade). Activities with relevant water inflows and outflows such as the agrarian sector, textiles, and the agri-food industry are examined in detail using breakdowns of the relevant accounts. The data reflect only physical consumption, differentiating between green and blue water. The results reveal that Spain is a net importer of water. Flows are then related to key trading partners to show the large quantities involved. The focus on embodied (or virtual) water by activity is helpful to distinguish indirect from direct consumption as embodied water can be more than 300 times direct consumption in some food industry activities. Finally, a sensitivity analysis applied to changes in diets shows the possibility of reducing water uses by modifying households' behavior to encourage healthier eating.

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Accession: 056903340

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22612260

DOI: 10.1021/es203772v

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