Virtual Water Trade as a Policy Instrument for Achieving Water Security in Palestine

  • Yasser H. Nassar


Severe water shortage is facing Palestine today as a result of population growth, agriculture and industry. Agriculture is the main water-using sector, which makes up more than 63 per cent of the country’s total amount of water use. Out of 279 Mm3/year used by different water consumers, about 178 Mm3/year goes to the agricultural sector. The country is not self-sufficient in agricultural production. The citrus sector, however, is successful enough to export its surplus. The remaining food deficit is imported to meet local demand. The quantities of water used in the agricultural production process can be translated into 56 Mm3/year exports and 2,200 Mm3/year imports of virtual water in Palestine. An estimated 20 per cent of Palestinian’s total water is being exported in virtual form. Economically, agriculture constitutes 25 per cent of total Palestinian exports with total revenue of US $ 60 million. The expenditure in agricultural imports such as wheat and meat products is about U S$ 620 million. The Palestinian water sector should allocate water to a crop like vegetables which brings the best return to water suppliers. Currently, the country has a water use that is unsustainable and may lead to a water crisis. Palestine should continue importing virtual water imbedded in food commodities to avoid such a crisis. Citrus exports from Palestine contribute to a huge virtual water loss. Reducing these exports would be a good start in addition to looking for other alternatives.


agriculture production virtual water water security water trade 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasser H. Nassar
    • 1
  1. 1.Water engineerJabalia camp, GazaPalestine

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