IWRA Proceedings

< Return to abstract list

Latin America: Trading Virtual Water, Carbon And Biodiversity

World Water Congress 2015 Edinburgh Scotland
14. Valuing water: monetary and non-monetary dimensions
Author(s): Mark Mulligan

Mark Mulligan,
King’s College London


  • Virtual water is traded when used consumptively in production of traded product, and thus no longer available for use downstream.
  • The agricultural land in Latin America occurs in a mix of humid and dry lands.
  • Agriculture in drylands => irrigated => greater leaf area than preirrigation cover => greater evapotranspiration => +ve water 'footprint' (local loss)
  • Agriculture in humid lands = replace tree cover with rainfed crops => less evapotranspiration => negative water 'footprint' (local gain)
  • New agriculture in previously natural areas also 'consumes' forest carbon and biodiversity
  • Embedded carbon = lost climate change mitigation potential
  • Embedded biodiversity = lost opportunities for biotech and medical discovery
IWRA Proceedings office@iwra.org - https://www.iwra.org/member/index.php