Extreme weather events have affected the environment and water resources in Taiwan for the last two decades. Heavy rainfall, typhoons, and rising sea levels have caused severe flooding along the Southwest Coast in Taiwan. Yunlin County, an important agricultural region, will be significantly affected by climate changes, especially in coastal areas with severe land subsidence. Therefore, using the concept of the water footprint and questionnaire surveys, this study examines personal water footprints in townships in Yunlin County to explore the effectiveness and sustainability of water management. The purpose of the water footprint concept is to quantify environmental burdens imposed by individuals’ demand for water. An individual water footprint involves direct and indirect water usage that is associated with personal habits. Analytical results show that the most individual water consumption is highest along coastal areas, such as Kouhu and Taixi, and mountainous areas, such as Gukeng, Douliu, and Linnei. Furthermore, one-way ANOVA of individuals’ daily water footprint reveals that individual water footprints vary significantly among Douliu, Gukeng, and Mailiao. The mean daily water footprint per capita in Douliu and Gukeng significantly exceeds that in Mailiao. This study considers the location quotients of industries in these three townships, which indicate that the location quotients of the accommodation and food and beverage industries in Douliu and Gukeng significantly exceed those of Mailiao. The individual virtual water use that is associated with the aforementioned industries is large. Clearly, individual water use habits in townships are related to the industry type. Douliu and Gukeng are major centers of the tertiary industry, which has a higher location quotient than in Mailiao. Mailiao is a major center of manufacturing as a secondary industry. Therefore, flourishing regions with tertiary industries have high virtual water consumption. These findings suggest that personal water use habits can explain why personal water footprints are larger in Yunlin County than in other counties in Taiwan.
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