LOADING

Auto-saving...

WHY IS VIRTUAL WATER IMPORTANT IN  TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION?

OPEN

FINDING no. 1: VIRTUAL WATER IS ACTUALLY PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN TRANSBOUNDARY WATER INTERACTIONS

As demonstrate in case 1 and case 2, virtual water flows can be "activated" ( Ethiopia) or "disactivated" ( Jordan) in order to modify power balance in hydropolitical complexes and water allocation entitlements.
Virtual water might seem an invisible entity, and a difficult mechanism to grasp, because it is globally traded but locally abstracted and /or used .
It is not part of the water allocation as codified by international wataer law, which is regulating freshwataer among state entities.

However, virtual water is , indeed, capable of changing transboundary water international relations and regional balance of power.

OPEN

COMPLEXITY ADDED TO COMPLEXITY

Virtual water flows , or "virtual rivers" are adding to the complexity of our
“business as usual” competition among sectors ( domestic, industrial,agricultural and ecosystem maintainance) ,
and the
upstream-downstream dynamics in case of physical contiguity of the transboundarity.

•We now also have the international transboundarity of virtual water flows and powers behind it

•A river basin with a export-led agribusiness company operating in crop production is NOT the same as a river basin without it.

"Water flows [uphill] towards power and money“ (Reisner, 1993)

In this case, was flows where “more dollars per drop” are being produced.

OPEN

SOVRANATIONALITY OF TRANSBOUNDARY VIRTUAL WATER INTERACTIONS: BEYOND THE STATE-LEVEL ACTORS

Virtual water flows are managed by the private sector, ( agribusiness companies, traders, retailers) and therefore need different instruments to be managed and understood compared to the classical transboundary interaction models.

OPEN

CASES OF VIRTUAL WATER INTERACTIONS INTO TRANSBOUDNARY WATER COMPLEXES

CASE 1 : VIRTUAL WATER HYDROPOLITICS.

POWER –BALANCE SHIFT IN
THE NILE BASIN

•foreign directinvestments in water and land in Ethiopia and Sudan, dam building plans, devoted to irrigation for crop-export

( see Cascao ,2013)

•Infrastructure potential was needed in order to «start» a crop-export, therefore, a virtual water flow ( or ' virtual river')

•Power-balance shift among the co-riparian states happened because of a virtual –water flow creation.

CASE 2 : THE DISI AQUIFER BETWEEN JORDAN AND SAUDI ARABIA - FROM VIRTUAL TO NON-VIRTUAL WATER

•Disi is an emblematic case of both physical contiguity ( with Saudi Arabia) and virtual water river interaction with a water body. In this case, a virtual water flow was created in the '80s , using a shared aquifer. In July 2013 the agro-business production for export has been stopped and the water has been diverted to supply mainly domestic use in the Greater Amman area. There is no bilateral treaty between Jordan and Saudi Arabia over the Disi water. However, due to the previous existence of the virtual water flow, and, therefore, the existence of a a material exploitation of the aquifer since 30 years, Jordan will be able to acquire a certain "right to use" that water, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has been exploiting the aquifer earlier and in greater quantities.

OPEN

This field can either be a standard textbox or be used to display a series of images in a "slide show."

Please note that slide show images should be in an approx. 8x3 format and at least 960 pixels wide and 364 pixels high.
We recommend larger images, maximum size 1920x728.

OPEN

CLICK TO ENTER TEXT

CLICK TO ENTER TEXT
OPEN
Edit
Delete

FINDING no.2 AN OPEN WATER CYCLE

This analysis is showing how water basins are not close environments and how interconnection with a global food trade is essential to understand water allocation dynamics, taking also into account foreign investments in land and water, bio-fuel production, intersectoral allocation and switch from virtual to non-virtual water. The virtual water flows are man-made. They can be activated, de-activated. They can change over time in volume and flux direction.

In Conclusion,

a complex political framwork is needed in order to understand different options available in order to start dealing with virtual water flows interactions in transboudnary river basins
Recommendations :

we should take into account the ‘broader picture’ of transboundary interactions, not only the ‘visible ‘ ones , because the 70% of water abstraction on earth is caused by agriculture, and the majority of traded food is managed by the private sector. Ignoring who is managing water and the globalization of water-trade would give us a partial picture of what's going on and why, in the major hydro-political transboundary complexes worldwide

OPEN