Food Trade and Its Water Footprint Under Climate and Policy Scenarios

Monday, 15 December 2014
Megan Konar, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Urbana, IL, United States, Zekarias Hussein, Purdue University, Agricultural Economics, West Lafayette, IN, United States and Naota Hanasaki, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Ibaraki, Japan
Trade has become increasingly important in the global redistribution of food, with important ramifications for food security, water resources, and transportation infrastructure, among others. Thus, it essential to understand how food trade and its water footprint may change in the future. To this end, we project international food trade, as well as its water footprint, under climate and policy scenarios for the year 2030. We use the H08 global hydrologic model to determine the impact of climatic changes to staple crop yields and evapotranspiration. Using the yield changes projected with the H08 model, we estimate the bilateral trade of staple crops using the Global Trade Analysis Project model. We combine these projections to obtain the water footprint of food trade, global network properties, and trade-based water savings across scenarios. Our findings indicate the relative importance of near-future climate and policy scenarios for food trade and its water footprint.