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Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 86; doi:10.3390/su8010086

The Effect of Land Use on Availability of Japanese Freshwater Resources and Its Significance for Water Footprinting

1
Research Institute of Science for Safety and Sustainability, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 16-1, Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan
2
Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan
3
Chair of Sustainable Engineering, Technische Universität Berlin, Strasse des 17. Juni 135, Berlin 10623, Germany
4
School of Advanced Engineering, Kogakuin University, 1-24-2, Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8677, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 14 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 16 January 2016
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Abstract

All relevant effects on water must be assessed in water footprinting for identifying hotspots and managing the impacts of products, processes, and services throughout the life cycle. Although several studies have focused on physical water scarcity and degradation of water quality, the relevance of land use in water footprinting has not been widely addressed. Here, we aimed to verify the extent of land-use effect in the context of water footprinting. Intensity factors of land use regarding the loss of freshwater availability are modeled by calculating water balance at grid scale in Japan. A water footprint inventory and impacts related to land use are assessed by applying the developed intensity factors and comparing them with those related to water consumption and degradation. Artificial land use such as urban area results in the loss of many parts of available freshwater input by precipitation. When considering water footprint inventory, the dominance of land use is less than that of water consumption. However, the effect of land use is relevant to the assessment of water footprint impact by differentiating stress on water resources. The exclusion of land use effect underestimates the water footprint of goods produced in Japan by an average of around 37%. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use; water footprint; land cover; groundwater recharge; surface flow; water footprint inventory; water footprint impact land use; water footprint; land cover; groundwater recharge; surface flow; water footprint inventory; water footprint impact
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Motoshita, M.; Ono, Y.; Finkbeiner, M.; Inaba, A. The Effect of Land Use on Availability of Japanese Freshwater Resources and Its Significance for Water Footprinting. Sustainability 2016, 8, 86.

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