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Global Economic and Food Security Impacts of Demand-Driven Water Scarcity - Alternative Water Management Options for a Thirsty World

Nechifor-Vostinaru, V; Winning, M; (2018) Global Economic and Food Security Impacts of Demand-Driven Water Scarcity - Alternative Water Management Options for a Thirsty World. Water , 10 (10) , Article 1442. 10.3390/w10101442. Green open access

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Abstract

Global freshwater demand will likely continue its expansion under current expectations of economic and population growth. Withdrawals in regions which are already water-scarce will impose further pressure on the renewable water resource base threatening the long-term availability of freshwater across the many economic activities dependent on this resource for various functions. This paper assesses the economy-wide implications of demand-driven water scarcity under a ‘middle-of-the-road’ socio-economic development pathway by considering the trade-offs between the macroeconomic and food security impacts. The study employs a global CGE model comprising an advanced level of detail regarding water uses across economic activities and which allows for a sector-specific endogenous adaptation to water scarcity. A sustainable withdrawal threshold is imposed in regions with extended river-basin overexploitation (India, South Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa) whilst different water management options are considered through four alternative allocation methods across users. The scale of macroeconomic effects is dependent on the relative size of sectors with low-water productivity, the amount of water uses in these sectors, and the flexibility of important water users to substitute away from water inputs in conditions of scarcity. The largest negative GDP deviations are obtained in scenarios with limited mobility to re-allocate water across users. A significant alleviation is obtained when demand patterns are shifted based on differences in water productivity, however, with a significant imposition on food security prospects.

Type: Article
Title: Global Economic and Food Security Impacts of Demand-Driven Water Scarcity - Alternative Water Management Options for a Thirsty World
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/w10101442
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101442
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Keywords: computable general equilibrium; water allocation; water scarcity; food security; hydroeconomic assessment; virtual water
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058902
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