VIRTUAL WATER EXPORT AND IMPORT OF MONGOLIA Oyundari Chuluunkhuyag School of Geology and Geography, NUM 2011.02.01
Purpose and research question
2. Virtual water
Virtual water content in products
Virtual water trade
Adoption of virtual water concept in Mongolia and its necessaries
3. Methods and used data 4. Research findings 5. Conclusions 6. Recommendations Content
Recently Chapagain and Hoekstra (2003), scientists at the UNESCO – Institute of Water Education, introduced a new methodology to estimate water flows between nations. The methodological framework of the analysis is when there is a transfer of products or services through trade, there is little direct physical transfer of water and there is significant transfer of virtual water.
1 Introduction In Mongolia no studies have been done to estimate how much water embedded in agricultural and industrial commodities is being exchanged with other nations through trade.
The purpose of this research is twofold. First, it will assess the virtual water content of various types of products and quantify the virtual water flows related to their export and import of Mongolia. Secondly, the study will examine how much virtual water in agricultural and industrial commodities is being exchanged with other nations through trade. The following research question forms the basis of this research: How much virtual water is being exchanged through trade and is it beneficial for us or not? In order to answer the primary question, two secondary questions have been used:
What type of product is the majority of Mongolian export and import? , which type of product is more containing the virtual water?
What amount of virtual water is totally losing and gaining through the export and import ?
Purpose and research question
What is virtual water ? The concept of virtual water emerged in the early 1990s and was first defined by Professor J.A. Allan as the water embedded in commodities. Producing goods and services requires water; the water used to produce agricultural or industrial products is called the virtual water of the product. 2 Virtual water
1. Crop products : It is estimated that for producing one kilogram of grain, grown under rainfed and favourable climatic conditions, we need about 1-2 m ³ of water, which is 1000–2000 kg of water. For the same amount of grain, but growing in an arid country, where the climatic conditions are not favourable (high temperature, high evapotranspiration) we need up to 3000–5000 kg of water. 2. Livestock products : An example of 200 kg boneless beef produced in an industrial farming system needs in average 3 years before it is slaughtered, It consumes nearly 1300 kg of grains (wheat, oats, barley, corn, dry peas, soybean meal and other small grains), 7200 kg of roughages (pasture, dry hay, silage and other roughages), 24 m³ of water for drinking and 7 m³ of water for servicing. This means: 1 kg beef=15340 l water (6.5 kg of grain, 36 kg of roughages, and 155 l of water for drinking and servicing) 3. Industrial products : The global average virtual water content of industrial products is 80 l per US$ . In the USA, industrial products take nearly 100 l per US$ . In Germany and the Netherlands, average virtual water content of industrial products is about 50 l per US$ . Industrial products from Japan, Australia and Canada take only 10–15 l per US$ . In world’s largest developing nations, China and India, the average virtual water content of industrial products is 20–25 l per US$ . Virtual water content in products
Virtual water trade refers to the idea that when goods and services are exchanged, so is virtual water. When a country imports 1 tonne of wheat instead of producing it domestically, it is saving about 1,300 cubic meters of real indigenous water. If this country is water-scarce, the water that is 'saved' can be used towards other ends. If the exporting country is water-scarce, however, it has exported 1,300 cubic meters of virtual water since the real water used to grow the wheat will no longer be available for other purposes. Virtual water trade Virtual water and the policy dimension The VW concept is also a practical policy tool that can be extended to detailed analysis of water resources management, environmental policies, irrigation policy and international trade issues. Until now, many of these policy issues have been solved empirically by common sense food policies and strategies in many semi-arid Middle Eastern countries. Some of these countries like Israel and Jordan have made policy choices to reduce or abandon exports or local production of water intensive crops and replace them by imports or higher return crops to allow optimization of water use.
World countries are reviewing their foreign trade policy in the light of virtual water. Due to the “silent water war”, Mongolia also needs to focus on calculating water trade. Developed countries such as Japan and Republic of Korea calculate own total annual water reserve by including virtual water used for producing goods and products that year. Virtual water is real consumption. At present, we have possibility to calculate and include virtual water in issues by National Statistical Office of Mongolia. This will adjust some data on information of water resource. If, as a result of this adjustment, the total volume of water reserves changes, this will lead to amendments in legal documents, improvements in calculation of virtual water on decision making and implementing level, teaching on all educational levels, and saving and appropriate use of water. Adoption of virtual water concept in Mongolia and its necessaries
International VWF have been calculated by multiplying commodity trade flows by their associated virtual water content: VWF[ne,ni,c] = CT[ne,ni,c] x VWC[ne,c] VWF denotes the virtual water flow (m3yr-1) from exporting country ne to importing country ni as a result of trade in commodity c; CT the commodity trade (ton yr-1) from the exporting to the importing country; and VWC the virtual water content (m3 ton-1) of the commodity, which is defined as the volume of water required to produce the commodity in the exporting country. The study is based on data for the period of 2004 - 2008. Most results are presented as 5 years averages. 3 Methods
Major export of Mongolia’s agricultural products consists of meat, meat products, wool and cashmere. As above-mentioned two types of products contain highest percent of virtual water, they constitute the majority of virtual water export loss through agriculture products. Annual loss of water from total export of agriculture products is 583 10 ⁶ m ³ . 4 Research Findings VWExport related to Agricultural products
Mongolia imports most of its food supply, thus increasing its water reserve by 1184 10 ⁶ m ³ from foreign trade activities annually . VW Import related to Agricultural product
Mongolia’s industrial export consists mainly of mining sector (81%). The annual loss of water from export of industrial products is 125 10 ⁶ m ³ . Export of Industrial product
Petrol and vehicles are the main imported industrial products. Mongolia consumes 124 10 ⁶ m ³ of water from import of industrial products. Import of Industrial product
The annual import of virtual water through agricultural products such as grain and flour reaches 1183.5 10 ⁶ cubic meters, whilst the annual export of virtual water through other agricultural products is -583.5 10 ⁶ m ³ resulting in 600 10 ⁶ m ³ of virtual water profit.
Export and import of virtual water through industrial products are 125 and 124 10 ⁶ m ³ respectively, with total loss of 1.42 10 ⁶ m ³ .
In overall, each year Mongolia losses 708.9 10 ⁶ cubic meters of virtual water through export of agricultural and industrial products and imports 1307.6 10 ⁶ m ³ of water, thus increasing its water reserve by 598.7 10 ⁶ m ³ .
Virtual water exporting amount is equal to 0.003 percent (708.89 106 l/yr) of two big river basins flow which is 20.7 1012 l/yr.
5. According to river discharge following classification, total amount of importing water is equal to 41.46 m3/sec virtual water and exporting water amount is equivalent with 22.47 m3/sec and it will be included the category under ” bigger rivers ” . Total amount of virtual water remaining on Mongolian territory is 18.98 m3/sec and shall be classified as medium sized river. 6. According to the above mentioned classification, river discharges as follows: Importing water amount is equal to Orkhon valley part discharge of Orkhon river and exporting water amount is same as Tuul river flow near Ulaanbaatar city. Total virtual water amount is equal to Undurkhaan station river flow of Kherlen river.
1. The term of virtual water is a new and not publicly known concept. In order to keep pace with global trend, campaign for introducing general public with concept that all products we consume and eat are virtual water must be carried out and education on water must be included in school lessons. 2. Virtual water concept must be considered in developing sustainable nature and environmental development policy and foreign trade policy. This will have major impact on the sustainable retaining of water to next generations. 3. Mongolia as a country with only two main trade partners, Russia and China, must carry out detailed research focusing on the trade with these two countries. 4. For consumers following three ways could help to reduce their indirect water consumption:
waste less food
select comparable products that use less water
substitute types of food that use more water for types that use less. For instance by reducing meat consumption. However, it has been debated whether this is a feasible road to go, since the world-wide trend has been that meat consumption increases rather than decreases.
5. For producers reducing virtual water content of products can be done by adopting production techniques that require less water per unit of product. Water productivity in agriculture can be improved for instance by applying advanced techniques of rainwater harvesting and supplementary irrigation. 6. Besides focusing on foreign trade issues, Mongolia also needs to implement policy on increase water reserve in its dry southern part which has insufficient water reserve and seek more efficient use of water. Shift production from areas with low water-productivity to areas with high water productivity, thus increasing global water use efficiency. 6 Recommendation