Overview of the extended water footprint in Spain: The importance of agricultural water consumption in the Spanish economy
ABSTRACT: The Spanish economy is increasingly decoupling from water use. It has grown and progressed during 1996-2008 using less national water resources. Agriculture, the economic sector that consumes most water, provides only a small part of the GDP and employs a decreasing part of the labour force. Water has therefore a relative importance for the economy at a national level. To understand the drivers of water use, we do an analysis of the trends of agricultural production. In Spain, crop production is changing, linked to increases in irrigated land, redistributions and concentrations of production and increased international trade. As a result, its water consumption is increasing primarily in association with the import of agricultural products. Alongside, the exports of national products are increasing, and as a country, Spain is exporting ever more valuable products with less virtual water (VW) content, while increasing its imports and thus reallocating its water footprint (WF).