The geographical area of India is 3.29 × 106 km2 and the annual average precipitation is about 4000 km3 (about 1215 mm depth over the country). Large variations in agricultural practices, climate and land productivity result in large variations in agricultural productivity between states. Virtual water refers to the water required in the production of goods or services; exchange of water through goods and services is virtual water trade. This paper quantifies virtual water export/import from/to various states of India to/from a central pool related to trade of two major food grains, wheat and rice, during the years 2003–04 to 2005–06. Virtual water contents of wheat and rice were estimated for different states using the data pertaining to that state. It was found to vary from 745 to 9405 m3/t for wheat and from 2502 to 9562 m3/t for rice. Punjab, Haryana, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand are net exporters of virtual water to the central pool; all other states are net importers. Among the virtual water exporters, Punjab and Haryana are water-stressed areas and some virtual water importing states have adequate water resources. Analysis shows that besides water availability, other factors are also important in determining virtual water export from a region.

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