From Security to Abundance: IIT Guwahati Paves Way to Address Water Crisis With Virtual Water Flows
The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) researchers have invented a better way to manage the water crisis through management policies and solve the water scarcity problem in India through ‘Virtual Water Flow’.
In a study, the researchers used ecological economies to understand the socio-political impact via Virtual Water Flow (VW flow).
The concept was first introduced during the 1990s, which helped to analyze how water-stressed economies should fulfill the need for essentials. For instance, it is recommended for a water-scarce country to import fabric rather than cultivate it as it uses more water for production.
The research was headed by Dr. Anamika Barua, professor of the Department of Human and Social Science, who collaborated with scientists from the University of Zaragoza, Spain. The research paper has since been published in the Journal of Water, Journal of Cleaner Production and Journal of Water Resources Research.
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The research study addressed the science-policy gap on water scarcity after analyzing the water flows used in agricultural products in different states. This has caused regional water scarcity, which reflects the gap in the lack of governance in implementing an effective water policy to mitigate the scarcity issues.
The team highlighted in the research paper that the VW flow between the states is unsustainable as most of it is used for agricultural products. Such unsustainable and unregulated flow of water is triggered by a large population and arable lands.
To combat such circumstances, sustainable flows need to be implemented from low to high water-scarce regions to eliminate the issue of water scarcity. Additionally, the states are required to plan and regulate sustainable agricultural practices for water and food security.
It is also recommended that the pressure of freshwater can be reduced by diversifying the water flow using VW flow analysis technology.