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Dynamics of the Global Virtual Water Trade Network

Speaker: Carole Dalin, Graduate Student
Series: EEWR Brown Bag Seminars
Location: Engineering Quad E219
Date/Time: Friday, April 8, 2011, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Food production is by far the most freshwater-consuming process (80% of total freshwater withdrawal). The international food trade may be seen as virtual water trade, since agricultural products utilize water resources in the exporting country. The global virtual water trade (VWT) then represents globalization of water. In this study, we present a new way of analyzing this globalization of water: we use complex network theory to study the global VWT network. This framework allows studying topological and weighted properties of the network: structure of international trade connections and volumes of virtual water trade flows. We also constructed a so-called “fitness model� that reproduces statistical properties of the VWT network thanks to fitness variables, in this case gross domestic product (GDP) and rainfall on agricultural area (RAA), assigned to each nation. In this presentation, the dynamics of the VWT network from 1986 to 2007 are examined. The temporal evolution of topological and weighted properties of the VWT network is analyzed for the whole network and for dominant countries. The fitness model has been applied yearly from 1986 to 2007 with varying GDP and RAA to reproduce the distributions of VWT network properties, and the results of these simulations will be presented as well.