Handbook of Research methods and Applications in Environmental Studies
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Handbook of Research methods and Applications in Environmental Studies

Edited by Matthias Ruth

This volume presents methods to advance the understanding of interdependencies between the well-being of human societies and the performance of their biophysical environment. It showcases applications to material and energy use; urbanization and technological transition; economic growth and social vulnerabilities; development and governance of social and industrial networks; the role of history, culture, and science itself in carrying out analysis and guiding policy; as well as the role of theory, data, and models in guiding decisions.
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Chapter 10: A multi-region input–output analysis of global virtual water flows

Kuishuang Feng and Klaus Hubacek


Water is widely recognized as a global sustainability imperative. With the fast economic and population growth the demand for freshwater has increased over fourfold over the last half-century worldwide (Uitto and Schneider 1997). Water is by far the most extracted resource globally – roughly 4000 billion cubic meters, including 700 billion cubic meters groundwater (Rockström et al. 2009; Zekster and Everett 2007). Since the 1960s, water scarcity has tremendously increased (Kummu et al. 2010) and many ecosystems are affected by water scarcity (Oki and Kanae 2006). With the world economy and population continually growing, higher incomes and resource-intensive lifestyles, pressures on water resources have become unprecedented, with climate change being likely to exacerbate the problems (Vörösmarty et al. 2000). In addition, water resources are unequally distributed globally.

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