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Water 2018, 10(8), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081029

Threshold Based Footprints (for Water)

School of Informatics Computing and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
Received: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Water Footprint Assessment)
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Abstract

Thresholds are an emergent property of complex systems and Coupled Natural Human Systems (CNH) because they indicate “tipping points” where a complicated array of social, environmental, and/or economic processes combine to substantially change a system’s state. Because of the elegance of the concept, thresholds have emerged as one of the primary tools by which socio-political systems simplify, define, and especially regulate complex environmental impacts and resource scarcity considerations. This paper derives a general framework for the use of thresholds to calculate scarcity footprints, and presents a volumetric Threshold-based Water Footprint (TWF), comparing it with the Blue Water Footprint (BWF) and the Relevant for Environmental Deficiency (RED) midpoint impact indicator. Specific findings include (a) one requires all users’ BWF to calculate an individual user’s TWF, whereas one can calculate an individual user’s BWF without other users’ data; (b) local maxima appear in the Free from Environmental Deficiency (FED) efficiency of the RED metric due to its nonlinear form; and (c) it is possible to estimate the “effective” threshold that is approximately implied by the RED water use impact metric. View Full-Text
Keywords: blue water footprint; water scarcity footprint; threshold; embedded resource accounting; life cycle analysis; regulation blue water footprint; water scarcity footprint; threshold; embedded resource accounting; life cycle analysis; regulation
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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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Ruddell, B.L. Threshold Based Footprints (for Water). Water 2018, 10, 1029.

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