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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1341;

National Water Footprint: Toward a Comprehensive Approach for the Evaluation of the Sustainability of Water Use in Italy

Engineering Department, University of Perugia, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Interuniversity Research Center on Pollution and Environment, University of Perugia, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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The aim of this study is to monitor the water use over the national territory and evaluate water flows by economic sectors across regional boundaries. The sustainability level is evaluated in terms of water scarcity (the ratio between water consumption and water availability). Publicly-available geo-referenced maps containing the annual average volume of available and consumed water for different economic activities, pollution loads, and land cover are elaborated with geographic information system (GIS) software. Different administrative and geographic boundaries (regional, river basin, and hydrogeological complex) are used to produce a statistical overview of the sustainability level in water use over the Italian territory. Water footprint indicators are set up for the blue and grey components, while the sustainability of the green component is preliminarily evaluated from land use. The effective impact on the water resource is assessed in terms of water scarcity for all the three components. Water availability data refer to annual average computed between 1990 and 2010. Water consumption and land cover refer to reference year 2006. Results are shown as annual averages and they are used to establish a baseline of the national water use that is expected to be particularly relevant for next-coming analyses, including virtual water flows associated to import/export activities and trending reports for future periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; natural resource sustainability; virtual water; GIS water footprint; natural resource sustainability; virtual water; GIS

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Bonamente, E.; Rinaldi, S.; Nicolini, A.; Cotana, F. National Water Footprint: Toward a Comprehensive Approach for the Evaluation of the Sustainability of Water Use in Italy. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1341.

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