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Higazy Nayla_Water Footprint Assessment and Virtual Water Trade in the Globally Most Water-Stressed Country, Qatar.pdf (89.31 kB)

Water Footprint Assessment and Virtual Water Trade in the Globally Most Water-Stressed Country, Qatar

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submitted on 2023-12-20, 07:32 and posted on 2024-01-29, 08:06 authored by Nayla Higazy, Sarah Merabet, Razan Khalifa, Aya Saleh, Shaikha Al-Sayegh, Hoda Hosseini, Sara Wahib, Rana Al-Absi, Lubna Zarif, Mohamed Shareif, Redhouane Ben Hamadou

Qatar is one of the most water stressed countries globally, despite Qatar’s aridity and its lack of freshwater resources, per capita water consumption became one of the highest in the world due to population growth, agricultural expansion, rapid urbanization and industrialization and it is expected to increase in the coming decades. Qatar heavily relies on seawater desalination, it meets the majority of the water supply demand of the county, while the remaining is met through groundwater and treated wastewater reuse. Therefore, understanding water consumption and use through space and time becomes paramount. By employing advanced methodologies, including Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) and analysis of Virtual Water Trade (VWT), this research comprehensively examines Qatar's water consumption patterns both domestically and internationally on a sectorial level (Agricultural, Industrial and urban sectors) between 2006 and 2021.The agricultural WF showed a steady increase through the years, with a few notable jumps in 2013 and 2018. The jump in 2018 is a result of a boom in production of fruits, vegetables, and mainly milk and dairy products within the livestock category. This reflects the political situation of Qatar at the time namely, the blockade imposed by neighboring countries in 2017 which drove Qatar to rely on local production rather than imports to cover its needs. The urban WF encompasses household, commercial and governmental WF. Households have the highest contribution consistently overtime. In 2013, the WF for all subsectors increased drastically possibly due to the national installation of new water infrastructure which resulted in major water losses. Direct industrial water consumption was the lowest among the sectors. The virtual water exports gradually decreased over the years with the most notable decrease in 2018 following Qatar’s blockade. In contrast, virtual water imports fluctuated over the years, in 2016 and 2018 substantial rises in virtual water imports were apparent followed by a steady decrease. Looking at the national water consumption, virtual water imports and exports, it is evident that Qatar’s water imports and exports are drastically higher than its local consumption. Despite being one of the most water scarce countries in the world, Qatar is a net water exporting country. Essentially inferring that Qatar is exporting more water that it virtually has. This examination not only provides essential data for policymakers but also sheds light on potential avenues for enhancing water security which can reflect in reducing water exports and increasing water imports. Additionally, reducing water demand by educating the public and launching national awareness programs, use of efficient water technologies and diversification of resources is essential for ensuring sustainable water management in the face of water scarcity. By integrating the findings from Water Footprint Assessment and Virtual Water Trade analysis, this research contributes valuable knowledge to the global discourse on water scarcity. The outcomes serve as a foundation for strategic planning, enabling Qatar to make informed decisions to optimize its water resources, enhance water-use efficiency, and secure a sustainable water future in the face of escalating water stress.



  • English

Publication Year

  • 2023

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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  • Qatar University
  • College of Arts and Sciences - QU

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