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Environments 2018, 5(9), 105;

How Inter-Basin Transfer of Water Alters Basin Water Stress Used for Water Footprint Characterization

Institute for Water Science, Suntory Global Innovation Center Limited, 8-1-1 Seikadai, Seika-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto 619-0284, Japan
Secretariat of Water Cycle Policy Headquarters, Cabinet Secretariat, Tokyo 100-8918, Japan
Water Resources Department, Water and Disaster Management Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Water Resources Planning Division, Tokyo 100−8918, Japan
CTI Engineering Co., Ltd., Tokyo 103-8430, Japan
Research and Development Center, Nippon Koei Co., Ltd., Ibaraki 300-1259, Japan
United Nations University, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, The University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Study, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Life Cycle Assessment: From Theory to Practice)
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Water footprint assessments contribute to a better understanding of potential environmental impacts related to water and have become essential in water management. The methodologies for characterizing such assessments, however, usually fail to reflect temporal and spatial variations at local scales. In this paper, we employ four widely-used characterization factors, which were originally developed with global estimates of water demand and availability, to evaluate the impact that inter-basin transfer (IBT) of water has on water risk assessments and, consequently, on the evaluation of the soundness of water cycle. The study was conducted for two major river basins in Japan, where diversion channels were built to move water from the Tone river basin to the Arakawa river basin. Considering IBT, the available water in the Arakawa river basin increases a 45%, reducing the characterization factors a 44% on average and denoting their tendency to overestimate the risk in this basin, while the Tone river basin increased the characterization factors a 28% on average by IBT. Moreover, with a simple example we show how ambiguity in the definition of some characterization factors may cause significant changes in the result of the assessments. Finally, we concluded that local water footprint characterization can be more helpful in local assessment of water resources if the results are unanimous, Targetable, Replicable, Ameliorable, Comparable, and Engageable (uTRACE). View Full-Text
Keywords: characterization factor; soundness of water cycle; water footprint; water stress characterization factor; soundness of water cycle; water footprint; water stress

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Yano, S.; Okazumi, T.; Iwasaki, Y.; Yamaguchi, M.; Nakamura, K.; Kanayama, T.; Ogawada, D.; Matsumura, A.; Gomez-Garcia, M.; Oki, T. How Inter-Basin Transfer of Water Alters Basin Water Stress Used for Water Footprint Characterization. Environments 2018, 5, 105.

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