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Sustainability 2010, 2(4), 919-944; doi:10.3390/su2040919
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Water Footprinting: How to Address Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment?

*  and
Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, Office Z1, Strasse des 17, Juni 135, 10437 Berlin, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2010 / Revised: 1 March 2010 / Accepted: 17 March 2010 / Published: 5 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resources Management: Life Cycle Assessment)
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Abstract

As freshwater is a vital yet often scarce resource, the life cycle assessment community has put great efforts in method development to properly address water use. The International Organization for Standardization has recently even launched a project aiming at creating an international standard for ‘water footprinting’. This paper provides an overview of a broad range of methods developed to enable accounting and impact assessment of water use. The critical review revealed that methodological scopes differ regarding types of water use accounted for, inclusion of local water scarcity, as well as differentiation between watercourses and quality aspects. As the application of the most advanced methods requires high resolution inventory data, the trade-off between ‘precision’ and ‘applicability’ needs to be addressed in future studies and in the new international standard.
Keywords: water use; life cycle assessment; water footprint water use; life cycle assessment; water footprint
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Berger, M.; Finkbeiner, M. Water Footprinting: How to Address Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment? Sustainability 2010, 2, 919-944.

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