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Hussam Hussein
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Hi and thanks for visiting my profile :) My name is Hussam, I'm a blogger-researcher-journalist, member of the European Youth Press’ Middle East and North Africa Committee (MENAC). I studied in Italy (Trieste/Gorizia), England (SOAS, London), and Poland (College of Europe). Academically, my background is mainly in Diplomacy and International Relations, with a focus on Environment. My interests are climate change, water, development and international cooperation.


Virtual water: let’s re-think the water management policies!

Published 29th March 2010 - 2 comments - 2969 views -

Virtual water: let’s rething the water management policies!


In a report last year, it projected that 250 million people in Africa could suffer more water shortages by 2020, while a quickening thaw of Himalayan glaciers could disrupt flows on which millions of people in Asia depend. It is therefore important to try to find solutions not to waste water ("Wanna save water? change you toilet!" :  and "Come to Morocco to play golf in the desert!": ) and new water management policies in this sense ("Water demand management, Jordan": ). The concept of virtual water goes in this way. For this reason, today's post is an interview to Prof. Tony Allan on the concept of virtual water.

"People do not only consume water when the drink it or take a shower. Behind that morning cup of coffee, there are 140 liters of water that was consumed to grow, produce, package and ship the beans." In other words, that is about as much water as a person in England uses on average for all daily drinking and household needs."For a single hamburger, an estimated 2,400 liters of water are needed. In the USA, the average person consumes nearly 7,000 liters of virtual water every day." It said that was more than three times the average consumption of a Chinese person.

Prof. Tony Allan from the King's College London has been awarded the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize for introducing the concept of “virtual water,” since this concept has a major impact on global trade policy and research, especially in water-scarce regions and has redefined the discourse in water policy and management. It is indeed important for the desertic and arid countries and regions, such as the Middle East.

Virtual water is the amount of water that is embedded in food or other products needed for its production. For example, producing one kilogram of wheat requires roughly 1000 liters of water, giving it a virtual water content of 1000 liters, according to figures released by the  World Water Council (WWC). “Virtual water is the trading of water or trading of water in goods. We import stuff, the manufactured goods, and in fact we are importing the water used to create these products.”

Trade in virtual water allows water scarce countries to import high water consuming products while exporting low water consuming products and in this way making water available for other purposes, such as domestic purposes. “There are many Arab countries, such as Qatar and Bahrain, which entirely depend on virtual water. They do not have much agriculture and depend on importing most of their food. So, they are relying a lot on virtual water.”

Category: Politics | Tags:


  • Jodi Bush on 30th March 2010:

    Hi Hussam. I posted a blog and video on the same topic in Round 2. One of the most shocking statistics I found was that for a kilo of beef you’re looking at between 16,000 and 100,000 litres of water depending on where it was produced! Compare that to a kilogram of vegetables which takes one litre of water to produce. If you’re interested in seeing my video it’s here:

  • Hussam Hussein on 21st April 2010:

    Thank you very much!!! I liked your video a lot! That’s so true…

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