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Special Issue "Water Footprint Assessment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra

Twente Water Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31534893880
Fax: +31-53-489-5377
Interests: water resources management; water footprint assessment; sustainable development; water-food-energy nexus
Guest Editor
Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain

University of Free State, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +31 53 489 5377
Interests: water resources management; water footprint assessment; irrigation
Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pieter van Oel

Water Resources Management Group,Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31-317-48-48-26
Interests: socio-hydrology; water resources management; water footprint assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water Footprint Assessment has emerged as a new interdisciplinary field of research, focusing on the analysis of water use, scarcity, and pollution, in relation to production, consumption, and trade of water-intensive goods and services. It includes the analysis of how different techniques and practices, policy strategies, and governance mechanisms can contribute to increasing the sustainability, efficiency, and equitability of water footprints, and the study of how different players can contribute, from governments and companies to investors and civil society. The field typically analyses water use in relation to demand for food, energy and other needs and analyses how goals regarding sustainable water use can be translated into coherent agricultural, energy, tax, and trade policies. Regarding the estimation of the water footprints (water productivities) of crops, challenges include the understanding of geographic and temporal variations, assessing the uncertainties involved, and the assessment of water-footprint related problems and solutions.

This Special Issue is open to papers advancing the field or showing innovative applications. We welcome, for example, papers that analyze the effectiveness of water footprint reduction options or strategies; original water footprint studies focusing on specific geographic regions, products, sectors or businesses; papers on the sustainability, efficiency or equitability of water footprints; studies on international or inter-regional virtual water trade and inter-regional water dependencies; research related to monitoring or achieving the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); application of Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) in water-related risk assessments; studies that relate water footprints to water scarcity; papers that quantify uncertainties in Water Footprint Assessment and propose ways to reduce these; and papers that bring together different environmental footprints in coherent approaches.

Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain
Dr. Pieter R. van Oel
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 1500 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.

Keywords

  • water footprint assessment
  • water allocation
  • sustainability
  • water productivity
  • equitable water use
  • virtual water trade
  • corporate water risk and stewardship
  • water footprint reduction strategies
  • uncertainties

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Advancing Water Footprint Assessment Research: Challenges in Monitoring Progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6
Water 2017, 9(6), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9060438
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 19 June 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This special issue is a collection of recent papers in the field of Water Footprint Assessment (WFA), an emerging area of research focused on the analysis of freshwater use, scarcity, and pollution in relation to consumption, production, and trade. As increasing freshwater scarcity
[...] Read more.
This special issue is a collection of recent papers in the field of Water Footprint Assessment (WFA), an emerging area of research focused on the analysis of freshwater use, scarcity, and pollution in relation to consumption, production, and trade. As increasing freshwater scarcity forms a major risk to the global economy, sustainable management of water resources is a prerequisite to development. We introduce the papers in this special issue by relating them to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 6 of the United Nations, the goal on water. We will particularly articulate how each paper drives the understanding needed to achieve target 6.3 on water quality and pollution and target 6.4 on water-use efficiency and water scarcity. Regarding SDG 6, we conclude that it lacks any target on using green water more efficiently, and while addressing efficiency and sustainability of water use, it lacks a target on equitable sharing of water. The latter issue is receiving limited attention in research as well. By primarily focusing on water-use efficiency in farming and industries at the local level, to a lesser extent to using water sustainably at the level of total water systems (like drainage basins, aquifers), and largely ignoring issues around equitable water use, understanding of our water problems and proposed solutions will likely remain unbalanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle Variability in the Water Footprint of Arable Crop Production across European Regions
Water 2017, 9(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9020093
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 11 December 2016 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (6984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Crop growth and yield are affected by water use during the season: the green water footprint (WF) accounts for rain water, the blue WF for irrigation and the grey WF for diluting agri-chemicals. We calibrated crop yield for FAO’s water balance model “Aquacrop”
[...] Read more.
Crop growth and yield are affected by water use during the season: the green water footprint (WF) accounts for rain water, the blue WF for irrigation and the grey WF for diluting agri-chemicals. We calibrated crop yield for FAO’s water balance model “Aquacrop” at field level. We collected weather, soil and crop inputs for 45 locations for the period 1992–2012. Calibrated model runs were conducted for wheat, barley, grain maize, oilseed rape, potato and sugar beet. The WF of cereals could be up to 20 times larger than the WF of tuber and root crops; the largest share was attributed to the green WF. The green and blue WF compared favourably with global benchmark values (R2 = 0.64–0.80; d = 0.91–0.95). The variability in the WF of arable crops across different regions in Europe is mainly due to variability in crop yield ( c v ¯ = 45%) and to a lesser extent to variability in crop water use ( c v ¯ = 21%). The WF variability between countries ( c v ¯ = 14%) is lower than the variability between seasons ( c v ¯ = 22%) and between crops ( c v ¯ = 46%). Though modelled yields increased up to 50% under sprinkler irrigation, the water footprint still increased between 1% and 25%. Confronted with drainage and runoff, the grey WF tended to overestimate the contribution of nitrogen to the surface and groundwater. The results showed that the water footprint provides a measurable indicator that may support European water governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Savings of Crop Redistribution in the United States
Water 2017, 9(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9020083
Received: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 30 January 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1672 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Demographic growth, changes in diet, and reliance on first-generation biofuels are increasing the human demand for agricultural products, thereby enhancing the human pressure on global freshwater resources. Recent research on the food-water nexus has highlighted how some major agricultural regions of the world
[...] Read more.
Demographic growth, changes in diet, and reliance on first-generation biofuels are increasing the human demand for agricultural products, thereby enhancing the human pressure on global freshwater resources. Recent research on the food-water nexus has highlighted how some major agricultural regions of the world lack the water resources required to sustain current growth trends in crop production. To meet the increasing need for agricultural commodities with limited water resources, the water use efficiency of the agricultural sector must be improved. In this regard, recent work indicates that the often overlooked strategy of changing the crop distribution within presently cultivated areas offers promise. Here we investigate the extent to which water in the United States could be saved while improving yields simply by replacing the existing crops with more suitable ones. We propose crop replacement criteria that achieve this goal while preserving crop diversity, economic value, nitrogen fixation, and food protein production. We find that in the United States, these criteria would greatly improve calorie (+46%) and protein (+34%) production and economic value (+208%), with 5% water savings with respect to the present crop distribution. Interestingly, greater water savings could be achieved in water-stressed agricultural regions of the US such as California (56% water savings), and other western states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Footprints and ‘Pozas’: Conversations about Practices and Knowledges of Water Efficiency
Water 2017, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9010016
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 2 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3666 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this article we present two logics of water efficiency: that of the Water Footprint and that of mango smallholder farmers on the desert coast of Peru (in Motupe). We do so in order to explore how both can learn from each other
[...] Read more.
In this article we present two logics of water efficiency: that of the Water Footprint and that of mango smallholder farmers on the desert coast of Peru (in Motupe). We do so in order to explore how both can learn from each other and to discuss what happens when the two logics meet. Rather than treating the Water Footprint as scientific, in the sense that it is separate from traditions or politics, and Motupe poza irrigation as cultural and, therefore, thick with local beliefs and superstitions, we describe both as consisting of intricate entanglements of knowledge and culture. This produces a more or less level playing field for the two water logics to meet and for proponents of each to enter into a conversation with one another; allowing furthermore for the identification of what Water Footprint inventors and promotors can learn from poza irrigators, and vice versa. The article concludes that important water wisdom may get lost when the Water Footprint logic becomes dominant, as is currently about to happen in Peru. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Uncertainties of Water Footprints Using an Ensemble of Crop Growth Models on Winter Wheat
Water 2016, 8(12), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8120571
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 November 2016 / Published: 5 December 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Crop productivity and water consumption form the basis to calculate the water footprint (WF) of a specific crop. Under current climate conditions, calculated evapotranspiration is related to observed crop yields to calculate WF. The assessment of WF under future climate conditions requires the
[...] Read more.
Crop productivity and water consumption form the basis to calculate the water footprint (WF) of a specific crop. Under current climate conditions, calculated evapotranspiration is related to observed crop yields to calculate WF. The assessment of WF under future climate conditions requires the simulation of crop yields adding further uncertainty. To assess the uncertainty of model based assessments of WF, an ensemble of crop models was applied to data from five field experiments across Europe. Only limited data were provided for a rough calibration, which corresponds to a typical situation for regional assessments, where data availability is limited. Up to eight models were applied for wheat. The coefficient of variation for the simulated actual evapotranspiration between models was in the range of 13%–19%, which was higher than the inter-annual variability. Simulated yields showed a higher variability between models in the range of 17%–39%. Models responded differently to elevated CO2 in a FACE (Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) experiment, especially regarding the reduction of water consumption. The variability of calculated WF between models was in the range of 15%–49%. Yield predictions contributed more to this variance than the estimation of water consumption. Transpiration accounts on average for 51%–68% of the total actual evapotranspiration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade of Brazil
Water 2016, 8(11), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110517
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Freshwater scarcity has increased at an alarming rate worldwide; improved water management plays a vital role in increasing food production and security. This study aims to determine the water footprint of Brazil’s national food consumption, the virtual water flows associated with international trade
[...] Read more.
Freshwater scarcity has increased at an alarming rate worldwide; improved water management plays a vital role in increasing food production and security. This study aims to determine the water footprint of Brazil’s national food consumption, the virtual water flows associated with international trade in the main agricultural commodities, as well as water scarcity, water self-sufficiency and water dependency per Brazilian region. While previous country studies on water footprints and virtual water trade focused on virtual water importers or water-scarce countries, this is the first study to concentrate on a water-abundant virtual water-exporting country. Besides, it is the first study establishing international virtual water trade balances per state, which is relevant given the fact that water scarcity varies across states within the country, so the origin of virtual water exports matters. The results show that the average water footprint of Brazilian food consumption is 1619 m3/person/year. Beef contributes most (21%) to this total. We find a net virtual water export of 54.8 billion m3/year, mainly to Europe, which imports 41% of the gross amount of the virtual water exported from Brazil. The northeast, the region with the highest water scarcity, has a net import of virtual water. The southeast, next in terms of water scarcity, shows large virtual water exports, mainly related to the export of sugar. The north, which has the most water, does not show a high virtual water export rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Footprint of Industrial Tomato Cultivations in the Pinios River Basin: Soil Properties Interactions
Water 2016, 8(11), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110515
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial tomatoes are cultivated in about 4000 ha of the Pinios river basin (central Greece), providing significant income to the farmers. In this study, the water footprint (WF) of industrial tomatoes between planting and harvest was estimated in 24 different farms for three
[...] Read more.
Industrial tomatoes are cultivated in about 4000 ha of the Pinios river basin (central Greece), providing significant income to the farmers. In this study, the water footprint (WF) of industrial tomatoes between planting and harvest was estimated in 24 different farms for three consecutive years. The selected farms were representative of the main agro-climatic zones and soil textural classes within the river basin. Green, blue and grey WF calculations were based on datasets of the experimental plots for each farm, including irrigation water volume, meteorological, soil, and crop yield data. The results showed that the WF of tomatoes ranged from 37 to 131 m3 water/ton tomatoes with an average of 61 m3/ton. The WF variation depended mainly on crop yield, local agro-climatic and soil conditions. The green, blue, and grey WF components averaged 13, 27 and 21 m3/ton, respectively. The results reveal the importance of WF in understanding how tomato production relates to the sustainable use of freshwater and pollution at local level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Influencing Factors of Water Footprint Based on the STIRPAT Model: Evidence from the Beijing Agricultural Sector
Water 2016, 8(11), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110513
Received: 17 August 2016 / Revised: 29 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (904 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Beijing suffers from a severe water shortage. To find the key factors that impact the agricultural water footprint (WF) within Beijing to relieve the pressure on water resources, this study quantifies the agricultural WF within Beijing from 1980 to 2012 and
[...] Read more.
Beijing suffers from a severe water shortage. To find the key factors that impact the agricultural water footprint (WF) within Beijing to relieve the pressure on water resources, this study quantifies the agricultural WF within Beijing from 1980 to 2012 and examines the factors of population, urbanization level, GDP per capita, Engel coefficient, and total rural power using an extended stochastic impact by regression on population, affluence and technology (STIRPAT) model. Ridge regression is employed to fit the extended STIRPAT model. The empirical results reveal that the Engel coefficient, which is defined as the total amount of food expenses accounted for the proportion of total personal consumption expenditures, has the largest positive impact on the increase in the agricultural WF, followed by urbanization. In contrast, total rural power, population, and GDP per capita can decrease the agricultural WF. Finally, policy recommendations from technological development, agriculture plantation structure adjustment, and virtual water imports are provided to cope with water shortages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessCommunication Using Water Footprints to Identify Alternatives for Conserving Local Water Resources in California
Water 2016, 8(11), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110497
Received: 19 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As a management tool for addressing water consumption issues, footprints have become increasingly utilized on scales ranging from global to personal. A question posed by this paper is whether water footprint data that are routinely compiled for particular regions may be used to
[...] Read more.
As a management tool for addressing water consumption issues, footprints have become increasingly utilized on scales ranging from global to personal. A question posed by this paper is whether water footprint data that are routinely compiled for particular regions may be used to assess the effectiveness of actions taken by local residents to conserve local water resources. The current California drought has affected an agriculturally productive region with large population centers that consume a portion of the locally produced food, and the state’s arid climate demands a large volume of blue water as irrigation from its dwindling surface and ground water resources. Although California exports most of its food products, enough is consumed within the state so that residents shifting their food choices and/or habits could save as much or more local blue water as their reduction of household or office water use. One of those shifts is reducing the intake of animal-based products that require the most water of any food group on both a gravimetric and caloric basis. Another shift is reducing food waste, which represents a shared responsibility among consumers and retailers, however, consumer preferences ultimately drive much of this waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating Water Footprints of Vegetable Crops: Influence of Growing Season, Solar Radiation Data and Functional Unit
Water 2016, 8(10), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100473
Received: 24 June 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 22 October 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water footprint (WF) accounting as proposed by the Water Footprint Network (WFN) can potentially provide important information for water resource management, especially in water scarce countries relying on irrigation to help meet their food requirements. However, calculating accurate WFs of short-season vegetable crops
[...] Read more.
Water footprint (WF) accounting as proposed by the Water Footprint Network (WFN) can potentially provide important information for water resource management, especially in water scarce countries relying on irrigation to help meet their food requirements. However, calculating accurate WFs of short-season vegetable crops such as carrots, cabbage, beetroot, broccoli and lettuce presented some challenges. Planting dates and inter-annual weather conditions impact WF results. Joining weather datasets of just rainfall, minimum and maximum temperature with ones that include solar radiation and wind-speed affected crop model estimates and WF results. The functional unit selected can also have a major impact on results. For example, WFs according to the WFN approach do not account for crop residues used for other purposes, like composting and animal feed. Using yields in dry matter rather than fresh mass also impacts WF metrics, making comparisons difficult. To overcome this, using the nutritional value of crops as a functional unit can connect water use more directly to potential benefits derived from different crops and allow more straightforward comparisons. Grey WFs based on nitrogen only disregards water pollution caused by phosphates, pesticides and salinization. Poor understanding of the fate of nitrogen complicates estimation of nitrogen loads into the aquifer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Water Footprint of the Mediterranean and American Diets
Water 2016, 8(10), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100448
Received: 29 July 2016 / Revised: 20 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 13 October 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Global food demand is increasing rapidly as a result of multiple drivers including population growth, dietary shifts and economic development. Meeting the rising global food demand will require expanding agricultural production and promoting healthier and more sustainable diets. The goal of this paper
[...] Read more.
Global food demand is increasing rapidly as a result of multiple drivers including population growth, dietary shifts and economic development. Meeting the rising global food demand will require expanding agricultural production and promoting healthier and more sustainable diets. The goal of this paper is to assess and compare the water footprint (WF) of two recommended diets (Mediterranean and American), and evaluate the water savings of possible dietary shifts in two countries: Spain and the United States (US). Our results show that the American diet has a 29% higher WF in comparison with the Mediterranean, regardless of products’ origin. In the US, a shift to a Mediterranean diet would decrease the WF by 1629 L/person/day. Meanwhile, a shift towards an American diet in Spain will increase the WF by 1504 L/person/day. The largest share of the WF of both diets is always linked to green water (62%–75%). Grey water in the US is 67% higher in comparison with Spain. Only five products account for 36%–46% of the total WF of the two dietary options in both countries, being meat, oil and dairy products the food items with the largest WFs. Our study demonstrates that adopting diets based on a greater consumption of vegetables, fruits and fish, like the Mediterranean one, leads to major water savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Footprint Calculation on the Basis of Input–Output Analysis and a Biproportional Algorithm: A Case Study for the Yellow River Basin, China
Water 2016, 8(9), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8090363
Received: 18 April 2016 / Revised: 23 July 2016 / Accepted: 16 August 2016 / Published: 23 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1412 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the Yellow River basin, China, ecosystems suffer from the overexploitation and utilization of water resources, resulting in various environmental impacts. Consideration must be given to both human and ecosystem water requirements in water resources management. A water footprint (WF) is a tool
[...] Read more.
In the Yellow River basin, China, ecosystems suffer from the overexploitation and utilization of water resources, resulting in various environmental impacts. Consideration must be given to both human and ecosystem water requirements in water resources management. A water footprint (WF) is a tool for estimating industrial, agricultural, commercial and household water requirements and for examining the impact of consumption on water resources. The study attempts to establish an approach to analyse the dynamic processes and driving forces that result in certain WFs. Using input–output tables for provinces and municipalities, we calculate water use coefficients, the total WF and the net external WF of consumption in China’s Yellow River Basin. A biproportional algorithm is employed to revise the input–output tables for analysing the temporal dynamics of the WF. The factor analysis and linear regression were used to analyse the main influencing factors of WF. Results indicate that the coefficient for water use by primary industries is highest and that coefficients for provincial water use differ significantly. Second, household consumption and residuals from capital accumulation constituted approximately half of the total WF of the Yellow River basin in 2002 and also differed significantly among provinces. Third, the ratio of the net external WF to the total WF increased, and the ratio of final consumption to the total WF declined during the period examined. Fourth, output by secondary industries correlated most strongly with the WF, followed by area under irrigation, per capita meat consumption, water consumption per 10,000-yuan increase in added value and population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Fertilizer N Application on the Grey Water Footprint of Winter Wheat in a NW-European Temperate Climate
Water 2016, 8(8), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8080356
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 3 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 19 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1381 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Nutrient management is central in water footprint analyses as it exerts strong control over crop yield and potentially contributes to pollution of freshwater, the so-called grey water footprint. In the frame of grey water footprint accounting, two methods are suggested, the constant leaching
[...] Read more.
Nutrient management is central in water footprint analyses as it exerts strong control over crop yield and potentially contributes to pollution of freshwater, the so-called grey water footprint. In the frame of grey water footprint accounting, two methods are suggested, the constant leaching fraction approach (10% of applied fertilizer N) and the N surplus approach. We compared both approaches and expected that the N surplus approach gives lower estimates of N leaching (and fertilizer-induced freshwater pollution) when the N surplus is small and higher N leaching estimates when the N surplus is high. We compared N fertilizer application at which the N balance = 0 with the N application at which profit is highest. We further expect pronounced differences in N surplus between farm sites and years, due to yield and soil fertility differences. N response trials were conducted at several locations over three years in Germany. Fertilizer-induced N surplus was calculated from the difference between applied N fertilizer and grain N removal. N fertilizer application at which N balance = 0 (NBal = 0) was lower than economic optimum N application rates (NEcon). N surplus at NEcon was linearly correlated with the additional N applied. Pooled over years and sites the median N surplus was 39 kg N ha−1. Differences between sites rather than between years dominated variation in fertilizer-induced N surplus. Estimated N leaching at NEcon was on average 9% of applied fertilizer N. The product water footprint was on average 180 m3 per ton of grain, but differences between sites were substantial with values varying between 0 and >400 m3 per ton. Yield and protein contents were lower at NBal = 0 compared to NEcon indicating a trade-off between freshwater protection, yield, wheat grain quality and economic optimum N application. Site-specific fertilizer strategies which consider soil type, crop development, annual field water balance, in-season nutrient dynamics and crop rotational effects are key to minimize fertilizer‑induced leaching of N into groundwater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Water Footprint of Milk Produced and Processed in South Africa: Implications for Policy-Makers and Stakeholders along the Dairy Value Chain
Water 2016, 8(8), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8080322
Received: 4 June 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 27 July 2016 / Published: 29 July 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (545 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current water scarcity situation in South Africa is a threat to sustainable development. The present paper has assessed the water footprint of milk produced and processed in South Africa using the procedures outlined in the water footprint assessment manual. The results show
[...] Read more.
The current water scarcity situation in South Africa is a threat to sustainable development. The present paper has assessed the water footprint of milk produced and processed in South Africa using the procedures outlined in the water footprint assessment manual. The results show that 1352 m3 of water is required to produce one tonne of milk with 4% fat and 3.3% protein in South Africa. The water used in producing feed for lactating cows alone accounts for 86.35% of the total water footprint of milk. The water footprint of feed ration for lactating cows is about 85% higher than that of non-lactating cows. Green water footprint accounts for more than 86% of the total water footprint of feed ration for lactating cows. Green and blue water footprints are the highest contributors to the total water footprint milk production in South Africa. Water used for feed production for both lactating and non-lactating cows accounts for about 99% of the total water footprint of milk production in South Africa. Particular attention should be given to feed crops with low water footprints and high contribution to dry matter to provide balanced ration with low water footprint. Water users, managers and livestock producers should pay attention to green and blue water consumption activities along the milk value chain and design strategies to minimize them. Corn, sorghum and lucerne production under irrigation in the greater Orange River basin is sustainable, whereas oats production for silage in the same catchment area is not sustainable. Our findings provide the rationale for dairy producers and water users in the dairy industry to get an understanding of the degree of sustainability of their input and output combinations, production choices, and policy interventions, in terms of water use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle European Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050
Water 2016, 8(6), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8060226
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 29 April 2016 / Accepted: 24 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (5091 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment)
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