Generally, production of any commodity needs a certain amount of water. For industrial purposes, water is used in different production processes, such as for cooling, cleaning, and washing. In agriculture, water is vital for plant growth. Such necessary water may be referred to as virtual water. In other words, virtual water is a volume of freshwater used to produce agricultural products. However, although water has been available for consumption at different levels and amounts in general production chains so far, such extensive amounts of water are no longer available.
Agri-business, and consequently virtual water, which allows for conservation of water resources in the world, seems attractive. This is due to significant differences in the efficiency of water use in different countries.
The concept of virtual water trade has been built based on the belief that many countries with limited water resources have been fulfilling their food and agricultural needs by importing those goods from countries with rich water resources.
Virtual water trade has had a significant growth in the past two decades. As a result, food security which was once a state and country issue, is now reshaped and reintroduced as an international affair. Mass production of inexpensive products in areas prone to use of green water (from rainfalls) and production of more expensive products for export purposes with use of blue water are important developments which are results of growing virtual water trade.
Virtual water exchange within a country results from a combination of domestic policies, crop patterns, production area, and potentials for production in different regions of the country.
We now seem to be at the beginning of a new stage to interact with the existing water crisis in the world. Virtual water trade provides solutions to deal with the limited water resources in arid and semi arid areas to keep water resources sustainable. However, considering important factors such as yield, profitability, and sustainability of the private sector production, it is necessary to identify all impacts of virtual water trade on the economy, cropping patterns, production potentials, food security, employment, environment, and etc. As a result, due to the lack of experience and inadequate research on this subject in many countries, it is necessary and beneficial to hold international conferences to help identify and review various aspects of virtual water trade, with the help of international experts in public and private sectors.
Therefore, Virtual Water International Conference (VWIC) plans to achieve two objectives:
1- Formulating the concept of virtual water.
2- Determining the strategic objectives of virtual water trade.