Periodic Reporting for period 4 - CWASI (Coping with water scarcity in a globalized world)
Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31
These compelling questions are intrinsically global as the international trade of massive amounts of food makes societies less reliant on locally available water, and entails large-scale transfers of virtual water (defined as the water needed to produce a given amount of a food commodity). The globalization of (virtual) water resources has impacts on short-term solutions to malnourishment, famine, and conflicts, but it also has relevant negative implications for human societies, as it contributes to reduce the resilience of countries to food and water shortage.
Thus, as its primary scope, this research project aims at disentangling the dynamics of the global system of water use and trade, and determining the key drivers of the spatial and temporal variability of human reliance on freshwater resources, both at the producers and consumer scales. Such dependency games unavoidably modify the global patterns of water resources exploitation and stress. Therefore, a further primary scope of this research project is the understanding and detailing of those dependency phenomena for the determination of the impacts of any possible import-export crisis on food security and water use. Finally, within this project these global dynamics are set in the socio-economic frame which characterizes the globalization of water resources, thus accounting for market dynamics, demographic growth and policy implementation.
We have therefore contributed addressing relevant global challenges, including: to quantify the impact on fluvial systems of water withdrawals due to food production; to define the future scenarios of human use of water resources; to predict the future evolution of the food trade network; to understand the resistance and resilience of the future system to local and global crises.