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Food And Virtual Water In The Great Lakes States

World Water Congress 2015 Edinburgh Scotland
14. Valuing water: monetary and non-monetary dimensions
Author(s): Melissa K. Scanlan and Jenny Kehl (co-author
not presenting)
Melissa K. Scanlan and Jenny Kehl (co-author, not presenting)
Melissa Scanlan is the Associate Dean of Environmental Programs and Associate Professor at Vermont Law School
Jenny Kehl is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Center for Water Policy at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences.


Water Scarcity
  • Water scarcity: one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, particularly related to food security
  • Agriculture is the largest water-user worldwide.
  • Agriculture uses 70% of all water used for human consumption.
    • water rights
    • trade offs between water uses

Purpose of Presentation

  • Identify hidden export of Great Lakes water:
  • water is exported in the form of food products.
  • Scanlan & Kehl, Food and Virtual Water in the Great Lakes States, 63 DePaul Law Review 771 (2014).
    • Data suggest Great Lakes region is a net exporter of virtual water through its agricultural exports.
    • We analyze these data in light of the existing legal framework for managing the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and discuss the potential for existing laws to address the net water loss.
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