Learning by doing, even better by playing, about water footprint and virtual water trade can be facilitated through a role play on globalization of water management (developed by University of Twente, The Netherlands; more information can be found here: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/RolePlay)
For a great many of people it may be easier (and more fun) to grasp the concept of virtual water and the related issues through such an interactive learning expierience. In my view it may be used, if suitable, during workshops, trainings (e.g. it is part of the water footprint standard training course that is offered by the Water Footprint Network), teaching, etc..
Through active participation and interaction by participants of the role play the impact of globalization on water management can be experienced. A great many of issues related to virtual water become clearer by playing the role play:
- the global dimension of water management, through trading of water-intensive products, including trans-border externalities
- the concept of comparative advantage applied to water
- national water self-sufficiency vs water-dependeny
- conflict "water for nature" vs "water for economy"
- different water intensities of various commodities
- the difference between green and blue water
We put ourselves in the shoes of the head of state, the minister of environment or the minister of trade & foreign affairs and get a hands on experience regarding the above mentioned topics.
I believe that such a role play may aid in learning more about wise water use and trade.