Coping with water scarcity in a globalized world, funded by ERC

which aims at studying the main characteristics and implications of the virtual water flows associated to the international trade of food. The project has the following main goals:
  • understanding the dynamics of virtual water flows;

  • investigating the international water trade network;

  • evaluating impacts and feedbacks for food security;

  • assessing the vulnerability of the system to crises.

We aim at investigating the complex relationships between climatic, agronomic and socio-economic factors and how they shape the evolution of the worldwide trade of virtual water.

Quantitative modelling approaches will enable the assessment of characteristics, dynamics and future evolutions of virtual water trade in the coming decades, under different climatic, demographic and socio-economic scenarios.
The virtual water trade will also be considered in a multi-level network framework, in order to analyze the joined evolution with trade, population and nutrition networks.
The response of the system to critical situations will be investigated together with an assessment of the system vulnerability.
In addition, to improve the future management of the virtual water trade, the project will provide operational guidelines and action proposals based on the use of quantitative data.
Given the extent of international trade, the scale of the problem is inherently global; nevertheless, some analyses will focus on specific countries and local situations.