Using Other People’s Water
by China Water Risk 20 April, 2017
This month we take a closer look at water embedded in trade. The Xi-Trump summit saw an end to China’s ban on US beef imports but does this really benefit the US given beef’s huge water footprint? For water-stressed China it makes sense to use someone else’s water to produce beef. To really get a handle on who’s using whose water we sat down with Prof. Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept, who shares the hard truths on the challenges ahead over virtual water trade. Indeed, the idea of a water footprint is not without its critics. We take a look at the criticisms and share five reasons why the concept is relevant. Meanwhile, groundwater globally is being over extracted to grow cotton. Who is to blame – China, fast fashion? We explore growth trends of major fashion brands. Water is also embedded in electricity. Here we explore water flows in China’s grid. China wants to embed environmental performance in a company’s credit rating. Dr. Guo of the China Financial Association’s Green Finance Expert Committee expands on how publicly available environmental data can help do this. The public can also help safeguard water resources as Earthwatch Institute’s Chick shares. FreshWater Watch connects volunteers and scientists to fast-track research. In the new phase of balancing economy and environment, will the future point to the import of more water-intensive goods like beef? It’s time to rethink trade; best to not be too over-reliant on other people’s water.
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