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Promote trade agreements which result in virtual water importation

When a product is imported or exported, the water that was used to create the product is carried along with it, in a sense. This concept is called ``virtual water.'' Water-poor countries can reduce their agricultural water use by choosing to import crops that require the most water to produce (Bouwer, 2000). As water becomes more scarce in the United States, the crops production will gradually be forced to shift away from water-intensive crops, such as alfalfa. The production of similar crops will shift to water-rich nations like Canada (Allan, 1997). By seeking to establish virtual-water importation now, Congress can ease the groundwater overdraft and surface diversion problems found mainly in the Southwest. The cost of importing grain will result in increased food prices, and some grain-producing farmers will be forced out of business (Bouwer, 2000).

Andy Wingo 2001-12-10