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National water footprint accounts: The green, blue and grey water footprint of production and consumption

Authors:
  • Water for food Institute at University of Nebraska

Abstract

This study quantifies and maps the water footprints of nations from both a production and consumption perspective and estimates international virtual water flows and national and global water savings as a result of trade. The entire estimate includes a breakdown of water footprints, virtual water flows and water savings into their green, blue and grey components.
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... Water accounting literature often points to agriculture as contributing up to 92% of global water use [1], however, significant problems of data quality exist [1; 2; 3; 4, p. 754; 5]which make accounting for, and therefore managing water an inaccurate practice. This problem has been compounded by international trade of water-based goods and services [6; 7], and misalignment of stakeholders [8]. ...
Conference Paper
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Purpose – Multiple water accounting techniques exist and suffer from data gaps and mis- aligned stakeholders which creates standardization and consolidation problems in the data of the industry. This study identifies domain-based stakeholders and defines stakeholder data relationships to improve inter-stakeholder data efficiency. Design/methodology/approach – The research design follows an inductive data collection of qualitative cross-sectional data through semi-structured expert interviews. The recorded interviews were transcribed, thematically coded, and the findings summarized. Findings – The result is an improved specificity of water accounting data stakeholders which have different data input and output requirements. Our research found that these stakeholders can be chained together based on their data relationships which enables identifying inter-stakeholder relationships and improved data efficiency. Social Implications – Water is a vital resource for humans and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. More precise description of stakeholders and data factors enable more efficient data flow which can improve the efficacy of terminal impact. Originality/value – The awareness of problem is refined by increasing stakeholder specificity and identifying data input/output requirements. This enables chaining of stake- holders and data to clarify stakeholder data requirements and improve data efficiency for purposes such as collaboration and policy guidance.
... Therefore, the calculation of blue and green WFs is sufficient in terms of reflecting the total WF of any region [17,27]. Due to a large number of data to be used in WF studies, the complexity of the analyses to be performed, and the concept of WF being a relatively new parameter, studies on this subject are relatively inadequate [28]. One of the first country-based WF studies was conducted by Mekonnen and Hoekstra [29], in this study, WFs of many countries due to production and consumption were calculated at relatively low resolution. ...
Article
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Rapid urbanization, pollution, and increasing water consumption together with climate change necessitated to process of more effective measurement, management, and decision mechanisms on regional water resources. The concept of water footprint (WF) is a parameter that has been introduced to the scientific literature in recent years similar to the ecological and carbon footprints. The WF of any field or product refers to the total volume of water resources that are processed or contaminated directly or indirectly during the production process. The current work is the first study assessing and discussing the agricultural water footprint of an Iraqi governorate by analyzing blue and green WFs of agricultural production in Qadisiyah governorate, southern Iraq for 2010-2020. Recently developed WF methodology has been used. The blue and green evapotranspiration amounts were estimated by the crop water requirement (CWR) option in CROPWAT 8.0 software. The statistical data including meteorological data, rainfall statistics, local crop coefficients, cultivation area, crop production amounts and animal statistics data have been utilized. The average annual agricultural WF of Qadisiyah governorate for the 10 years between 2010-2020 was determined to be 1,315,201,621 Mm ³ /yr. The largest water-consuming sector is crop production (54%). Cereal and feed crops are the main component of water consumption. The rice crop followed by wheat is the primary crop production comprising about 44% of the total WF and require water supplied from rivers. Vegetable production has only 14% of the crops WF. The green WF was only 15% of the crop production WF. The largest share of water used for animal production is related to broiler chickens (44%) and 37% for dairy cattle. The study area is fertile land for crop production. However, limited water resources and scarcity of the region restrict the agricultural activities. The sustainability of freshwater resources of the governorate could be provided by reducing the WF and blue water contents. This study is expected to contribute to the national authorities to develop more accurate irrigation water management policies.
... Less attention has been paid to the use of water in the building industry, besides single case-studies, often performed in desertic or semi-desertic regions. Mekonnen and Hoekstra [15] reported that the overall trade of international virtual water (embodied in the production of food, fibre and non-food commodities) equals 26% of global water footprint. In particular, construction consumes 16% of the water, worldwide [7]. ...
Article
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Current practices supporting sustainable building design aim at reducing the expenditure of natural resources, such as raw materials, energy and water, in the production of construction supplies. In the current paper water is replaced by fennel centrifugate (FC) for the realization of cement mortar bricks. After having identified the most suitable cementitious pre-mixed over three potential candidates, the mechanical and physical characteristics of the FC bricks are compared to cement mortar bricks, prepared with regular water, by means of bending, compression at ordinary and high temperatures, imbibition and acoustic tests. From compared results, it is noticed that FC bricks have the same imbibition property, but tensile and compression (ordinary and high temperatures) resistances have about 20% less than the control specimen ones. The acoustic tests revealed a better response of FC bricks to the high frequencies greater than 1600 Hz. However, fennel fibres do not provide a manifest advantage, likely due to the small size of the centrifuged fragments that are not able to enhance the product tensile resistance.
... Estimates suggest that four billion people are currently affected by severe water scarcity (Liu et al., 2017a(Liu et al., , 2017bMekonnen and Hoekstra, 2011), driven by an increasing demand caused by population growth and economic development (Best, 2019;Parish et al., 2012). Water scarcity is becoming such a challenge that the UN has established the Water Action Decade (Guterres, 2016), the World Economic Forum lists water crises in its top five global risks by impact (World Economic Forum, 2020) and universal access to sustainable fresh water is specified within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Griggs et al., 2013). ...
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Water scarcity is a global issue, affecting in excess of four billion people. Interbasin Water Transfer (IBWT) is an established method for increasing water supply by transferring excess water from one catchment to another, water-scarce catchment. The implementation of IBWT peaked in the 1980s and was accompanied by a robust academic debate of its impacts. A recent resurgence in the popularity of IBWT, and particularly the promotion of mega-scale schemes, warrants revisiting this technology. This paper provides an updated review, building on previously published work, but also incorporates learning from schemes developed since the 1980s. We examine the spatial and temporal distribution of schemes and their drivers, review the arguments for and against the implementation of IBWT schemes and examine conceptual models for assessing IBWT schemes. Our analysis suggests that IBWT is growing in popularity as a supply-side solution for water scarcity and is likely to represent a key tool for water managers into the future. However, we argue that IBWT cannot continue to be delivered through current approaches, which prioritise water-centric policies and practices at the expense of social and environmental concerns. We critically examine the Socio-Ecological Systems and Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus models as new conceptual models for conceptualising and assessing IBWT. We conclude that neither model offers a comprehensive solution. Instead, we propose an enhanced WEF model (eWEF) to facilitate a more holistic assessment of how these mega-scale engineering interventions are integrated into water management strategies. The proposed model will help water managers, decision-makers, IBWT funders and communities create more sustainable IBWT schemes.
Preprint
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The importance of water resources cannot be overemphasized as they are the foundation of life and livelihoods on Earth. They have been an ‘invisible engine’ of the human development throughout millenniums. In other words, water has been the center of economic and social development not only maintaining health, but also being used in agriculture, transportation, and industry. Thus, unsustainable supply of water is likely to lead to a humanitarian and economic catastrophe. For this reason, the access to water, historically, has been one of the main causes of tensions between countries and nations. People were aware of the fact that if society allows freshwater to be wasted and polluted, the countries will not survive (Gleick, 1993). Nevertheless, growing population and the expansion of highly- material, energy, waste and pollution production systems have increased pressure on the global water sources (Dell`Angelo et al, 2018). Notwithstanding the fact that about 71% of the Earth`s surface is water-covered, only about 2.5% of all water sources are fresh water, and of this, only 0.4% is surface water, and about 30% is ground water. Most of the rest is in glaciers and icecaps, which are mostly inaccessible (UNEP, 2007). Therefore, as water sources become more polluted and wasted, the demand for fresh water growths. Nowadays 4.3 billion people (approximately 71% of the global population) live under conditions of occasional or permanent water scarcity. By 2030, the industrial and population demand for fresh water in both developed and developing countries is expected to exceed the currently available and accessible fresh water supply by 40% (Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2016). According to the World Economic Forum report (2015), water crises was listed as the largest global risk in terms of potential impact. Thus, these developments marked the beginning of a new era in the humankind history: the development under water scarcity. However, these problems had not been the integral part of the world development agenda before 2015. For instance, they were not included to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (UN, 2015). The situation changed in 2015 when ration water usage was chosen as a foundation for achievement of two out of seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely 6th ‘Clean, accessible water for everyone’ and 14th ‘Clean oceans and seas’ (UN, 2018).
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em 12/05/2021 e aceito em 29/01/2022 R E S U M O A Pegada Hídrica (PH) configura-se como uma ferramenta importante no auxílio da mensuração do grau de sustentabilidade no uso da água de um dado local. Ela mensura o volume total anual de água doce necessário para produzir os bens e serviços de uma população. Este trabalho objetivou estudar a PH média dos habitantes da região Agreste de Pernambuco, avaliando-se o consumo de água e sua relação com indicadores sociais. A metodologia consistiu na aplicação de questionários para geração de dados aplicados na calculadora eletrônica para mensurar a PH de um indivíduo, 625 questionários foram aplicados. Os resultados mostraram que o valor da PH per capita foi de 1128,19 m³. ano-1 , situando-se abaixo da PH per capita do planeta (1385 m 3 .ano-1) e da média brasileira (2027 m 3 .ano-1), fato atribuído às características semiáridas da região estudada. A relação encontrada entre a renda e PH foi linear, demonstrando que uma população com maior poder aquisitivo consome mais produtos, o que consequentemente, produz maiores valores de PH. A alimentação correspondeu a 62,6% da PH da região. Desta forma, políticas direcionadas aos hábitos alimentares podem apresentar resultados mais efetivos no gerenciamento da água do que, por exemplo, ações voltadas ao consumo de água doméstica. É importante destacar que na gestão dos recursos hídricos, a questão da qualidade da água não pode ser desprezada. Neste sentido algumas atividades industriais, por exemplo, podem contribuir de forma menos pronunciada no consumo de água, mas serem fortemente responsáveis pela poluição dos corpos receptores. Palavras-chave: Consumo de água; Recursos hídricos; Indicadores. A B S T R A C T The Water Footprint (WF) is an important tool in support to measure the degree of sustainability in the water use in a given location. It measures the total annual volume of fresh water needed to produce goods and services for a population. This research aimed to study the WF average of the inhabitants from Agreste region of Pernambuco, evaluating water consumption and its relationship with social indicators. The methodology consisted of the questionnaires application. The data were insert in a eletronic calculator for WF mensuration, 625 questionnaires were applied. The results showed that the WF per capita was 1128.19 m³.year-1 , which is below the planet's WF per capita (1385 m 3 .year-1) and the Brazilian average (2027 m 3 .year-1), fact attributed to the semiarid characteristics of the studied region. The relationship found between incomes and WF was linear, showing that a population with greater purchasing power consumes more products, which consequently produces higher WF values. Feeding corresponded to 62.59% of the WF of the region. In this way, policies aimed at eating habits can present more effective results in water management than, for example, actions aimed at the consumption of domestic water. It is important to highlight that in the management of water resources, the water quality issue cannot be forgetted. In this sense, some industrial activities, for example, may contribute less significantly to water demand, but are strongly responsible for receiving bodies pollution. Introdução A preocupação com o meio ambiente e com os recursos naturais do planeta tem aumentado significativamente nas últimas décadas. No Brasil e no mundo, problemas relacionados à poluição do ar, do solo e crises hídricas têm se intensificado.
Chapter
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The water resources in the upper Awash basin in central Ethiopia are intensively utilized by the densely populated urban centers and extensive agricultural activities in the wide rift plains surrounding the major cities. The green, blue, grey and total water footprints of major crops dominantly cultivated in the sub-basin (teff, maize, sorghum and sugar cane) are characterized. The water footprints were analyzed for the period 2000 to 2010 using climatic as well as soil and crop yield data from the Debrezeit, Wonji, Melkassa and Metehara stations. The temporal and spatial variations of total water footprints (TWFs) in the basin were analyzed and mapped. The temporal trends of the Water Footprints (WFs) are interpreted using Mann-Kendall and Sen’s slope tests. The crop production in the sub-basin mainly depends on green water consumption. Teff and sorghum crops in the climatically similar Debrezeit and Melkassa areas had relatively higher TWFs (4205 m³/ton and 2539 m³/ton, respectively) compared to maize. Blue water requirement to supplement rainfed agriculture decreases from Metehara, Melkassa, Wonji to Debrezeit in that order. The TWF of irrigated sugarcane (117–212 m³/ton) is less than those of rainfed crops such as maize which has a minimum TWF of 1752 m³/ton. The spatial and temporal variations in WFs in the sub-basin are determined by both climatic (effective rainfall, evapotranspiration, length of wet spell and length of growing period) and non-climatic parameters (such as fertilizer consumption, soil types, crop yields and agricultural management practices). Our results suggest cultivating less water-intensive, high-yield crops can significantly decrease the TWFs in the sub-basin. The results could be used to develop well-informed regional and national freshwater resource management policies. More broadly, our novel approach of characterizing WFs at the sub-basin scale using limited amount of locally measured data sets could be a useful tool in other parts of the world where locally measured data sets are scarce.
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Field experiment was conducted in Giza, Egypt, during two growing seasons of 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 on garlic crop, with the objective of investigating the effect of different irrigation levels (60, 80 and 100 % of water requirements and their combination with the foliar spraying applications of agrispon (with 0.5 and 1.0 ml/ liter) on growth and yield. The results indicated that increased irrigation level up to 100% led to increased vegetative characters of garlic and that the lowest growth and productivity was obtained by 60% irrigation level. When considering spray application of agrispon; with 1.0 ml/L increased growth and productivity followed by 0.5 ml/L; while control treatment gave the lowest productivity during the both seasons. Interaction effect between irrigation level and agrispon treatments indicated that 100% irrigation level combined with 1.0 ml/L spray application of agrispon gave the highest garlic productivity followed by 100% irrigation level combined with 0.5 ml/L spray application. The chemical analysis showed that the highest NPK was obtained by 100% irrigation level combined with 1.0 ml/L agrispon application during the both seasons. Regarding water footprint, the highest irrigation water footprint was obtained by 80% irrigation level followed by 60% irrigation level, while the lowest footprint was obtained by 100% irrigation level due to high garlic productivity under 100% irrigation level. The estimate water footprint for garlic was 525 m ³ /ton. The blue water footprint for garlic was 422 m ³ /ton about 80% form total water footprint, while gray water percentage about 20% with value of 103 m ³ /ton.
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