Australia uses huge volumes of water to produce products for export, but cannot find enough water to keep its river systems alive.
The driest inhabited continent on earth - also the world’s biggest water exporter!
While the Murray-Darling Basin Authority apparently struggles to find even a paltry 3,000 gigalitres of water in its increasingly compromised attempt to restore the nation’s most vital and productive river system, a new report reveals Australia to be the world’s largest net exporter of virtual water. This water is exported in crop, livestock and industrial products. It is the water consumed to create produce for export.
The report also indicates that our agricultural sector is responsible for the vast majority of the total volume of water exported from Australia in this way, shipping an average of 72,000 gigalitres of virtual water overseas every year.
“While few would question the important contribution made by most Australian farmers, it defies belief that a country continually struggling with unreliable rainfall and severe drought allows more virtual water to be lost than any other nation on the planet”, national coordinator of Fair Water Use, Ian Douglas, commented today.
He added, “This sad fact is made even more poignant when one considers that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority seems incapable of finding a mere 7,600 gigalitres of environmental water to ensure the health of our most important river system”.
“These statistics also confirm the arrant irresponsibility of applying Murray-Darling water to semi-desert country, irrigating water-intensive crops such as cotton - a product which largely heads offshore, together with the vast amount of virtual water it contains”, he concluded.
Full media release and report may be viewed at: http://www.fairwateruse.com.au/content/view/317/48/, Fair Water Use Australia, 'striving for a revived Murray-Darling basin by supporting environmentally sustainable water-use'.
See also: Council of Canadians' new report: 'Leaky Exports: A portrait of the virtual water trade in Canada', WORLD WATER WARRIORS: ‘Canada a major exporter of virtual water, says new Council of Canadians report’, Leaky Exports: A Portrait of the Virtual Water Trade in Canada, Council of Canadians’ new report: Leaky Exports - A portrait of the virtual water trade in Canada. (Sites found with a Google search using terms "Leaky exports: A portrait of the virtual water trade in Canada" (quotes omitted), although we believe it inadvisable to indefinitely depend upon Google or other search engines finding such resources as seems to be the practice amongst some Internet users these days. That is why we prefer to add links rather than repeat the hackneyed phrase "Just google it". - Ed)
1. The report Leaky Exports: A portrait of the virtual water trade in Canada (PDF, 1.8MB) may be downloaded from the Fair Water Use web site.