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European Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050

Water Footprint Network, International Water House, Bezuidenhoutseweg 2, 2594 AV The Hague, The Netherlands
Twente Water Centre, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Athanasios Loukas
Water 2016, 8(6), 226;
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 29 April 2016 / Accepted: 24 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
PDF [5091 KB, uploaded 27 May 2016]


This study develops water footprint scenarios for Europe for 2050, at the country level, based on projections regarding population and economic growth, production and trade patterns, consumption patterns (diets and bioenergy use) and technological development. The objective is to estimate possible future changes in the green, blue and grey water footprint (WF) of production and consumption, to analyze the main drivers of projected changes and to assess Europe’s future dependence on water resources elsewhere in the world. We develop four scenarios, considering globalization versus regional self-sufficiency, and development driven by economic objectives versus development driven by social and environmental objectives. The study shows that the most critical driver of change affecting Europe’s future WF is the consumption pattern. The WFs of both production and consumption in Western Europe increase under scenarios with high meat consumption and decrease with low-meat scenarios. Besides, additional water demands from increasing biofuel needs will put further pressure on European water resources. The European countries with a large ratio of external to total WF of consumption in 2000 decrease their dependencies on foreign water resources in 2050. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; water consumption; water pollution; virtual water trade; water dependency; diet; biofuel; scenarios; Europe water footprint; water consumption; water pollution; virtual water trade; water dependency; diet; biofuel; scenarios; Europe

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Ercin, A.E.; Hoekstra, A.Y. European Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050. Water 2016, 8, 226.

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