Do the Virtual Water and Water Footprint Perspectives Enhance Policy Discussions
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The notions of virtual water and water footprints are gaining popularity among researchers and practitioners in the field of water resources. Many of the published articles include statements suggesting that public policies regarding water allocation, agriculture, or international trade should reflect consideration of virtual water and water footprints. Yet those notions lack a scientifically tested conceptual framework and they are too narrowly defined to inform policy decisions in a meaningful way. Consumers, firms, and public officials wishing to improve water resource management need and deserve much better information than is contained in estimates of virtual water and water footprints. A more thoughtful, comprehensive approach is needed to develop policies that will truly improve the management of water and other natural resources, while also enhancing livelihoods.
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