عنوان مقاله [English]
Water crisis is of utmost importance due to the growing demand and consumption of water, especially in developing countries where its production and food security are facing serious challenges. Virtual water trade has been proposed as one strategy to combat the water scarcity crisis in arid and semi-arid regions. The strategy is based on the import of food and water-intensive supplies from neighboring regions that enjoy adequate supplies of water. Given the fact that the industrial sector has been proposed to serve as the basis of development in Zanjan Province, the present study was conducted to investigate the virtual water trade by the industrial sector in this province. For the purposes of this study, data from the statistical period 2010-2011 were obtained from the Statistical Center of Iran on enterprises employing ten member staffs or above. The data were used to categorize the industries surveyed, their water demands, and products to estimate the quantities of water needed for their continued operation. It was found that the highest quantities of virtual water in Zanjan are allocated to coking and petroleum plants, paper and cellulosic industries, and food and beverage processing factories with average values of 32.70, 26.14, and 11.63 cubic meters per million Rials, respectively. In addition, the total amount of virtual water exported from the industrial units operating in Zanjan Province is estimated at about 3.10 MCM, 50% of which belongs to base metal production. Conclusion: Our findings show that the industrial sector in Zanjan Province is a net exporter of virtual water.