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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S11269-021-02784-9

Advancing the Water Footprint into an Instrument to Support Achieving the SDGs – Recommendations from the “Water as a Global Resources” Research Initiative (GRoW)

04 Mar 2021-Water Resources Management (Springer Nature Switzerland AG)-Vol. 35, Iss: 4, pp 1291-1298
Abstract: The water footprint has developed into a widely-used concept to examine water use and resulting local impacts caused during agricultural and industrial production. Building on recent advancements in the water footprint concept, it can be an effective steering instrument to support, inter alia, achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) - SDG 6 in particular. Within the research program “Water as a Global Resource” (GRoW), an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, a number of research projects currently apply and enhance the water footprint concept in order to identify areas where water is being used inefficiently and implement practical optimization measures (see imprint for more information). With this paper, we aim to raise awareness on the potential of the water footprint concept to inform decision-making in the public and private sectors towards improved water management and achieving the SDGs.

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Topics: Water use (56.99%), Resource (biology) (51%), Sustainable development (50%)
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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/W13060803
15 Mar 2021-Water
Abstract: Considering that 4 billion people are living in water-stressed regions and that global water consumption is predicted to increase continuously [...]

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Topics: Water use (60%), Life-cycle assessment (51%)

6 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S11269-021-02845-Z
Xinchun Cao1, Jianfeng Xiao1, Mengyang Wu1, Wen Zeng1  +1 moreInstitutions (1)
Abstract: Water use efficiency (WUE) improvements in agricultural production are of great significance to regional food security and ecological sustainability. Based on modified water footprint (WF) calculations for corn cultivation in China, WUE indices of water productivity (WP) and water efficiency (WE) for production capacity and the effective ratio of water resources were developed and quantified in the current study. Approaches to achieving national productive and effective improvements concurrently were sought by determining the spatial-temporal patterns and determinants of WP and WE during 1996–2015. The results show that the annual crop WF was estimated at 197.3 m³, including 14.1 % blue, 62.4 % green and 23.4 % gray components. WP and WE were calculated as 0.781 kg/m³ and 0.687, respectively, both of which increased over time in all subregions. Both WP and WE showed obvious spatial differences in the observed period. Low-value provinces were concentrated in the northwest and on the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, and most high-value regions were distributed in the southeastern coastal zone. Agricultural production technology improvements contributed to WF reductions in specific areas, while meteorological elements and planting structure were the main factors affecting the spatial distribution of WP and WE. WF suppression in northwestern China and expansion of the production scale in southern China were conducive to increasing productive and effective agricultural water resource use in corn cultivation nationally. Agricultural production technology progress and crop spatial arrangement optimization are equally important to agricultural WUE enhancement in the WF framework.

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Topics: Water use (55%), Water efficiency (55%), Water-use efficiency (54%) ... show more

5 Citations


Open accessJournal Article
Abstract: An operational method to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with groundwater use is currently lacking in life cycle assessment (LCA). This paper outlines a method to calculate characterization factors that address the effects of groundwater extraction on the species richness of terrestrial vegetation. Characterization factors (CF) were derived for The Netherlands and consist of a fate and an effect part. The fate factor equals the change in drawdown due to a change in groundwater extraction and expresses the amount of time required for groundwater replenishment. It was obtained with a grid-specific steady-state groundwater flow model. Effect factors were obtained from groundwater level response curves of potential plant species richness, which was constructed based on the soil moisture requirements of 625 plant species. Depending on the initial groundwater level, effect factors range up to 9.2% loss of species per 10 cm of groundwater level decrease. The total Dutch CF for groundwater extraction depended on the value choices taken and ranged from 0.09 to 0.61 m(2)·yr/m(3). For tap water production, we showed that groundwater extraction can be responsible for up to 32% of the total terrestrial ecosystem damage. With the proposed approach, effects of groundwater extraction on terrestrial ecosystems can be systematically included in LCA.

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Topics: Species richness (56.99%)

5 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S42824-021-00026-2
Xuandong Chen1, Hifza Aamna Memon2, Yuanhao Wang1, Ifra Marriam3  +1 moreInstitutions (4)
06 Jul 2021-
Abstract: Textiles are essential to humans in a variety of ways, especially clothing. However, the speed at which they end up in landfills is astonishing (one garbage truck per second), posing a severe risk to the environment, if the trend continues. Governments and responsible organizations are starting to make calls to different stakeholders to redesign the textile chain from linear to circular economy. In this perspective, we highlight some of the possible approaches to be undertaken including the need for the creation of renewable raw materials sources, rethinking production, maximum use and reuse of textile products, reproduction, and recycling strategies, redistribution of textiles to new and parallel markets, and improvising means to extend the textiles lifetime.

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Topics: Circular economy (55%), Clothing (54%), Textile industry (52%)

3 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/SU13126687
12 Jun 2021-Sustainability
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the somewhat precarious nature of our lives, including the way we work and our lifestyles [...]

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3 Citations


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36 results found


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S11269-006-9039-X
Abstract: The water footprint shows the extent of water use in relation to consumption of people. The water footprint of a country is defined as the volume of water needed for the production of the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the country. The internal water footprint is the volume of water used from domestic water resources; the external water footprint is the volume of water used in other countries to produce goods and services imported and consumed by the inhabitants of the country. The study calculates the water footprint for each nation of the world for the period 1997-2001. The USA appears to have an average water footprint of 2480 m 3 /cap/yr, while China has an average footprint of 700 m 3 /cap/yr. The global average water footprint is 1240 m 3 /cap/yr. The four major direct

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Topics: Water use (69%), Virtual water (62%), Water resources (57.99%)

1,281 Citations


Open access
01 Dec 2011-
Abstract: This study quantifies and maps the water footprint (WF) of humanity at a high spatial resolution. It reports on consumptive use of rainwater (green WF) and ground and surface water (blue WF) and volumes of water polluted (gray WF). Water footprints are estimated per nation from both a production and consumption perspective. International virtual water flows are estimated based on trade in agricultural and industrial commodities. The global annual average WF in the period 1996–2005 was 9,087 Gm3/y (74% green, 11% blue, 15% gray). Agricultural production contributes 92%. About one-fifth of the global WF relates to production for export. The total volume of international virtual water flows related to trade in agricultural and industrial products was 2,320 Gm3/y (68% green, 13% blue, 19% gray). The WF of the global average consumer was 1,385 m3/y. The average consumer in the United States has a WF of 2,842 m3/y, whereas the average citizens in China and India have WFs of 1,071 and 1,089 m3/y, respectively. Consumption of cereal products gives the largest contribution to the WF of the average consumer (27%), followed by meat (22%) and milk products (7%). The volume and pattern of consumption and the WF per ton of product of the products consumed are the main factors determining the WF of a consumer. The study illustrates the global dimension of water consumption and pollution by showing that several countries heavily rely on foreign water resources and that many countries have significant impacts on water consumption and pollution elsewhere.

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Topics: Water use (56.99%), Humanity (50%)

1,265 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1073/PNAS.1109936109
Abstract: This study quantifies and maps the water footprint (WF) of humanity at a high spatial resolution. It reports on consumptive use of rainwater (green WF) and ground and surface water (blue WF) and volumes of water polluted (gray WF). Water footprints are estimated per nation from both a production and consumption perspective. International virtual water flows are estimated based on trade in agricultural and industrial commodities. The global annual average WF in the period 1996–2005 was 9,087 Gm3/y (74% green, 11% blue, 15% gray). Agricultural production contributes 92%. About one-fifth of the global WF relates to production for export. The total volume of international virtual water flows related to trade in agricultural and industrial products was 2,320 Gm3/y (68% green, 13% blue, 19% gray). The WF of the global average consumer was 1,385 m3/y. The average consumer in the United States has a WF of 2,842 m3/y, whereas the average citizens in China and India have WFs of 1,071 and 1,089 m3/y, respectively. Consumption of cereal products gives the largest contribution to the WF of the average consumer (27%), followed by meat (22%) and milk products (7%). The volume and pattern of consumption and the WF per ton of product of the products consumed are the main factors determining the WF of a consumer. The study illustrates the global dimension of water consumption and pollution by showing that several countries heavily rely on foreign water resources and that many countries have significant impacts on water consumption and pollution elsewhere.

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Topics: Virtual water (53%), Water use (52%)

1,190 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1021/ES802423E
Abstract: A method for assessing the environmental impacts of freshwater consumption was developed. This method considers damages to three areas of protection: human health, ecosystem quality, and resources. The method can be used within most existing life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. The relative importance of water consumption was analyzed by integrating the method into the Eco-indicator-99 LCIA method. The relative impact of water consumption in LCIA was analyzed with a case study on worldwide cotton production. The importance of regionalized characterization factors for water use was also examined in the case study. In arid regions, water consumption may dominate the aggregated life-cycle impacts of cotton-textile production. Therefore, the consideration of water consumption is crucial in life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that include water-intensive products, such as agricultural goods. A regionalized assessment is necessary, since the impacts of water use vary greatly as a function of location. T...

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Topics: Impact assessment (52%), Water use (51%), Water supply (51%)

1,027 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2005.11.027
Abstract: The consumption of a cotton product is connected to a chain of impacts on the water resources in the countries where cotton is grown and processed. The aim of this paper is to assess the ‘water footprint’ of worldwide cotton consumption, identifying both the location and the character of the impacts. The study distinguishes between three types of impact: evaporation of infiltrated rainwater for cotton growth (green water use), withdrawal of ground- or surface water for irrigation or processing (blue water use) and water pollution during growth or processing. The latter impact is quantified in terms of the dilution volume necessary to assimilate the pollution. For the period 1997–2001 the study shows that the worldwide consumption of cotton products requires 256 Gm3 of water per year, out of which about 42% is blue water, 39% green water and 19% dilution water. Impacts are typically cross-border. About 84% of the water footprint of cotton consumption in the EU25 region is located outside Europe, with major impacts particularly in India and Uzbekistan. Given the general lack of proper water pricing mechanisms or other ways of transmitting production-information, cotton consumers have little incentive to take responsibility for the impacts on remote water systems.

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Topics: Water use (64%), Water conservation (61%), Water pricing (60%) ... show more

612 Citations


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20219
20111