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India losing 'virtual water' through food exports

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  20 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Kolkata, April 19: Have you heard of water export? Apparently, India has been sending “virtual” water to other countries through its food exports, and this trend is likely to continue. “Water used in agriculture is recirculated, but the (virtual) water exported out when we export food is not recoverable. Over a period of time, if food export is extensive, the country’s water reserves go down affecting water sustaibility,” says Prashant Goswami, a researcher at the CSIR Fourth Paradigm Institute, Bengaluru. In answers send by email and given on the phone, Goswami, a Shanti Swarup Bhatgar awardee, says that in contrast, Chi is a net importer of food and is therefore amplifying its water reserves. He suggests a change in India’s food policy. Goswami, a climate and atmospheric modelling expert, warns in a study that if the current rate of net export of water in end products continues, India will lose its “entire available water in less than 1,000 years.” This projection may go down further if parameters like increase in food demand and reduction in surface water due to climate change are taken into consideration, according to the study. The findings of the study ‘Virtual water trade and time scales for loss of water sustaibility: (IANS)

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