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Virtual Water and Water Footprints in a Global Perspectives

            The concept of virtual water first emerged in the early 1990s and was defined by Professor John Anthony Allan, as the water embedded in commodities. Producing goods and services requires water and the water used to produce agricultural or industrial products are known as the virtual water of the product. Countries which have a scarcity of water use the concept of 'virtual water' to determine their agricultural and industrial production strategies. .
             The concept of water footprint was introduced in 2002 by A.Y. Hoekstra as an alternative indicator of water use. A water footprint consists of three components: the blue, green and gray water footprint. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater that evaporated from the global blue water resources namely surface water and ground water. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources coming under rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture. The gray water footprint is the volume of the water that becomes polluted during the production process of goods and services. .
             The water is considered virtual because once a crop is grown the real water used to grow it is no longer actually contained in it. Virtual water is an essential tool in calculating the real water use of a country, or its water footprint, which is equal to the total domestic use plus the virtual water import and minus the virtual water export of a country. A nation's water footprint is a useful indicator of the demand it places on global water resources. At the individual level, the water footprint is equal to the total virtual water content of all products consumed. The water footprint of an individual consumer refers to the sum of direct and indirect freshwater used by the consumer. The direct water use is the water used at home whereas the indirect water use relates to the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce goods and services consumed by the consumer.

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