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Special Issue "Progress in Water Footprint Assessment"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra

Twente Water Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +31-53-489-5377
Interests: water resources management; water footprint assessment; sustainable development; water-food-energy nexus
Guest Editor
Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain

Water Footprint Network
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +31 53 489 5377
Interests: water resources management; water footprint assessment; irrigation
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Pieter R. van Oel

Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: water resources management; water footprint assessment; crop water use, uncertainties

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to submit papers showing progress in Water Footprint Assessment, the interdisciplinary field studying water resources management in relation to food and energy consumption, supply chains, and production and trade patterns. We are particularly open to papers that use the water footprint and virtual water trade concepts to address questions on water-use efficiency, water dependencies, water risk and security, environmentally sustainable water use, and fair sharing of water.

We welcome papers that apply the water footprint in integrated water resources management or river basin studies, and papers that go beyond the water footprint by considering different types of environmental footprints more comprehensively. This Special Issue will include innovative case studies focusing on specific geographic regions, products, sectors or businesses. We look for progress in, for example, the spatial resolution of assessment, the advancement in models employed, the capturing of uncertainties, the assessment of water footprint reduction strategies, and the translation of analytical results into policy implications.

Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Water footprint assessment
  • Water productivity
  • Sustainable and equitable water allocation
  • Water security
  • Virtual water trade
  • Corporate water risk and stewardship
  • Water footprint reduction strategies
  • Water-food-energy nexus
  • Uncertainties

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Water and Land Footprints and Economic Productivity as Factors in Local Crop Choice: The Case of Silk in Malawi
Water 2017, 9(10), 802; doi:10.3390/w9100802
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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In deciding what crops to grow, farmers will look at, among other things, the economically most productive use of the water and land resources that they have access to. However, optimizing water and land use at the farm level may result in total
[...] Read more.
In deciding what crops to grow, farmers will look at, among other things, the economically most productive use of the water and land resources that they have access to. However, optimizing water and land use at the farm level may result in total water and land footprints at the catchment level that are in conflict with sustainable resource use. This study explores how data on water and land footprints, and on economic water and land productivity can inform micro-level decision making of crop choice, in the macro-level context of sustainable resource use. For a proposed sericulture project in Malawi, we calculated water and land footprints of silk along its production chain, and economic water and land productivities. We compared these to current cropping practices, and addressed the implications of water consumption at the catchment scale. We found that farmers may prefer irrigated silk production over currently grown rain-fed staple crops, because its economic water and land productivity is higher than that for currently grown crops. However, because the water footprint of irrigated silk is higher, sericulture will increase the pressure on local water resources. Since water consumption in the catchment generally does not exceed the maximum sustainable footprint, sericulture is a viable alternative crop for farmers in the case study area, as long as silk production remains small-scale (~3% of the area at most) and does not depress local food markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Water Footprint Assessment)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Applying the Water Footprint to achieve more user-oriented Payments for Hydrological Ecosystem Services
Author: Jochen Hack
Abstract: The Ecosystem Service concept has gained significant popularity in describing interactions between human and natural systems. In the context of River Basin Management, for instance, Payments for Hydrological Ecosystem Services have been developed as a policy instrument. This application of the concept, however, has a clear focus on the provisioning side of Ecosystem Services and neglects the environmental impact on the use, i.e. beneficiary side. This contribution addresses this downside through the introduction of a water footprint assessment for beneficiaries of Hydrological Ecosystem Service. The potential of complementarity to the political steering effect of the Ecosystem Service concept on the user side of the water footprint is investigated.

Journal Contact

Water Editorial Office
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Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
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