It's not easy, or economically feasible, to ship freshwater across the globe. But when scientists use food as a proxy for that water - taking into account how much crops are irrigated and livestock are fed - they can get a glimpse of the flow of freshwater between countries. When one research group studied this "virtual water network," they found that the interconnectedness between countries has almost doubled over the last two decades - potentially lending some resiliency to the water trade. Still, a handful of nations control a majority of the freshwater flow, and some regions, including much of Africa, are left out of the trading loop.
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