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Water 2010, 2(3), 351-362; doi:10.3390/w2030351

Estimating Green Water Footprints in a Temperate Environment

Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 0AL, UK
Received: 9 June 2010 / Revised: 2 July 2010 / Accepted: 12 July 2010 / Published: 14 July 2010
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The “green” water footprint (GWF) of a product is often considered less important than the “blue” water footprint (BWF) as “green” water generally has a low, or even negligible, opportunity cost. However, when considering food, fibre and tree products, is not only a useful indicator of the total appropriation of a natural resource, but from a methodological perspective, blue water footprints are frequently estimated as the residual after green water is subtracted from total crop water use. In most published studies, green water use (ETgreen) has been estimated from the FAO CROPWAT model using the USDA method for effective rainfall. In this study, four methods for the estimation of the ETgreen of pasture were compared. Two were based on effective rainfall estimated from monthly rainfall and potential evapotranspiration, and two were based on a simulated water balance using long-term daily, or average monthly, weather data from 11 stations in England. The results show that the effective rainfall methods significantly underestimate the annual ETgreen in all cases, as they do not adequately account for the depletion of stored soil water during the summer. A simplified model, based on annual rainfall and reference evapotranspiration (ETo) has been tested and used to map the average annual ETgreen of pasture in England.
Keywords: CROPWAT; effective rainfall; England; green water footprint; pasture CROPWAT; effective rainfall; England; green water footprint; pasture
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Hess, T. Estimating Green Water Footprints in a Temperate Environment. Water 2010, 2, 351-362.

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