La Ecología Política del Agua Virtual y Huella Hídrica. Reflexiones sobre la necesidad de un análisis crítico de los indicadores de flujos virtuales de agua en la economía.

  1. María Beltrán
  2. Esther Velázquez
Revista de economía crítica

ISSN: 1696-0866 2013-5254

Year of publication: 2015

Issue Title: Los estados de bienestar europeos en transformación: el impacto de la crisis de 2008

Issue: 20

Pages: 44-56

Type: Article

More publications in: Revista de economía crítica


From the perspective of Ecological Economics, virtual water and water footprint can be used to shed light on the ecological distributional conflicts caused by social metabolism of the economy. We show that virtual water flows make visible the material of these conflicts, while virtual water model abstracts water from the material context of its use and consequently ignores how water resources management are affected by power relations. We argue that the analysis of virtual water flows should be complemented with the analysis of institutional, political and social processes that both coexist and affect them using the political ecology approach. We show that great effort has been devoted to the development of the methodology while very little attention has been paid to the analysis of the power relations that coexist and condition with these flows, thus pointed to the contradictions generated by these indicators when it comes to providing relevant information for the implementation of water and trade policies.