Water Footprint Network Newsletter November 2015




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Executive Director’s note

With the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on the horizon, it is clear that business as usual is not a viable option. Yet it is also clear that sustainable development can be a terrific driver for innovation.

This month, I participated in the first United Nations’ Economic and Social Council Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) Task Force on Innovation and Competitiveness. Solving the water problems in the Asia Pacific, and their related social and environmental impacts, looks like a monumental task, yet it also opens up new demand and opportunities for innovation in a region that is hit hard by water scarcity and poor water quality.

At Amsterdam International Water Week, I saw that one way to fuel innovation is to look at these problems together with investors, technology providers, public and private utilities, companies and civil society. With partners from different sectors and from around the world, Water Footprint Network is one place where creative dialogue and exchange can lead to new ideas and approaches to address the world’s water crises. We look forward to working with you for innovative solutions.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Trainings

    Global Water Footprint Standard Training, Morelos, Mexico, 17th- 20th November 2015
    This intensive course on Water Footprint Assessment Methodology & Application will be led by experts from Water Footprint Network and the University of Twente, in collaboration with specialists from the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA).

    Main instructors: Prof. dr ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra (University of Twente), Dr. Daniel Chico Zamanillo (WFN). Collaborators: M.C. Rita Vázquez del Mercado (IMTA), M.C. Mario O. Buenfil Rodriguez (IMTA), M.A. Rosalinda Uribe Visoso( [MTA), M.E. Ricardo Morales (AgroDer).

    Find out more about the course and register here.

    Water Footprint Awareness Training, Centro de Convenções Ulysses Guimarães, Brasilia, Brazil,  26th November 2015
    As part of the XXI Brazilian Symposium on Water Resources, Cap-Net Brazil, Cap-Net UNDP and Water Footprint Network, in partnership Brazilian Association of Water Resources (ABRH), are offering short course on water footprint. The course is designed for professionals in the water and environmental sectors and will be conducted in Portuguese.
    Find out more about the course here and register here.




Upcoming Events

    Opening ceremony and kick-off meeting of the IMPREX project, De Bilt , The Netherlands, 30th November – 2nd December 2015
    Together with 22 other EU-based organisations, Water Footprint Network is starting a new Horizon 2020 research project: IMPREX (IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological Extremes), funded by the European Commission. Water Footprint Network Project Manager, Dr, Ertug Ercin, will attend the launch event and kick-off meeting of the project.
    IMPREX aims at improving forecasting capability of hydrological extremes and their impacts at short to seasonal time scales, focusing on Europe. It will also address provision of realistic, robust and relevant information on extreme hydrological impacts at climate time scales to governments, business and citizens in Europe.
    Water Footprint Network is leading one of the work packages of IMPREX, which assesses impacts of hydrological extremes on the European economy and examines the risks related to the global supply and production of goods under hydrological extremes and climate change.
    Find out more here.







WFN Publications

    A new paper published in Environmental Science & Technology, “Global Gray Water Footprint and Water Pollution Levels Related to Anthropogenic Nitrogen Loads to Fresh Water” by Mesfin M.Mekonnen and Arjen Y.Hoekstra finds that 48% of world population faces unsustainable levels of water pollution through Nitrogen.




Events News

    Amsterdam International Water Week, Amsterdam, 2nd-6th November 2015

    Water Solutions for a Sustainable Textile Industry
    Hosted by Water Footprint Network and Netherlands Water Partnership, this dynamic session brought together the IFC, The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), water technology suppliers, fashion brands and factory owners from several textile hubs all over the world. Of particular interest was the knowledge exchange between the Bangladesh delegation, which shared lessons learned from the Partnership for a Cleaner Textiles (PaCT) programme with the Egyptian delegation. A similar approach for the textile industry in Egypt is being considered. One of the lessons shared is that the partnership between apparel brands and washing-dyeing-finishing mills was a key success factor and accelerated the learning curve.

    Sustainable Water Management and Stewardship in the Mining Industry
    Hosted by Water Footprint Network, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Netherlands Water Partnership this workshop brought together knowledge institutes, water technology suppliers, consultants, finance, investment and government representatives for discussions on improved water stewardship and the importance of interdisciplinary consortia within the mining sector. 

    Industrial Leaders Forum
    Water Footprint Network’s Ruth Mathews spoke in a keynote panel to kick off the Industrial Leader’s Forum alongside Geoff Gage, Leader Global Water Service Line, McKinsey & Company, Usha Rao-Monari, CEO Global Water Development Partners, Blackstone Portfolio Company, Chris Roubos from Evides Industriewater BV, Vetrivel Dhagumudi, Program Leader Global Sustainability, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Rudi Sueys, Global Manager Sustainability, Commercial Products Supply at The Coca-Cola Company.

    Geoff Gage, Leader Global Water Service Line, McKinsey & Company

    The lively panel discussion drew on expertise from the financial, industrial, technology and water utility sectors and highlighted how Water Footprint Assessment can focus innovation and improvements where most needed. The roundtable discussion on Basin Management in the Industrial Water Pathways in a Circular Economy session, moderated by Ms Mathews, touched on the importance of involving all stakeholders in claiming a greater responsibility for their own and the cumulative water footprint of river basins. Understanding the value-shed is as important as understanding the watershed.

    Read more about AIWW here.

    EU Commission’s Mid-Term Conference on the Environmental Footprint Pilot Phase, The Egg, Brussels, 3rd-4th November 2015
    Water Footprint Network’s Science Director, Dr. Ashok Chapagain, attended this event, which included a special session on water. The findings of 6 pilot studies were presented, which aim to provide a basis for Environmental Footprint Rules.  The conference aimed to take stock of progress and to discuss the policy challenges and ideas around the Product Environmental Footprint Rules and in the Organisational Environmental Footprint Rules, which are being developed based on existing, well-established, tested and widely used methods, standards and guidelines.
    Find out more about the conference here.
    Task Force Meeting of the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, Bangkok, 1st November 2015
    This was the first meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Task Force on Innovation and Competitiveness. Water Footprint Network’s Ruth Mathews, gave a presentation entitled: “Driving Innovation Through Water Footprint Assessment: Case Studies from South Asia”.

    Read the agenda here.

    Capacity Building for Water Footprint Assessment in Chile: Application to the Rapel river basin, Chilean DGA, 27th October 2015
    Water Footprint Network took part in a capacity building seminar, hosted by the Chilean Water General Directory (DGA), which is funding this project together with the Swiss Co-operation Agency (Cosude). The project is being implemented by Fundación Chile with our support.

    As part of the project, the Global Water Footprint Assessment Standard was adapted so that the Chilean water authorities could use it as an effective tool to help achieve integrated water resources management. The standard was piloted in the Rapel river basin. The results of the sustainability assessment were supported by socio-economic and environmental indicators to identify unsustainable areas and relevant actions that the water authorities can take to reduce the water footprint.

    During this seminar, we presented this project, the WFA methodology used and the results to around 25 DGA staff from various departments. We then worked with them to assess how to translate those results into specific, strategic actions that DGA can take to use water more sustainably. This project provided valuable experience of applying Water Footprint Assessment methodology that will not only be useful for Chilean water authorities, but can be applied elsewhere.

    World Water Week, Stockholm 23rd -28th August 2015
    Read a summary report of the meeting here.

    GLASA Symposium & Award Ceremony, Stockholm 27th August 2015
    The Global Leadership Awar in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA) aims to inspire bold and courageous leadership in the apparel sector and significantly increase the industry’s sustainability performance. WFN’s Ruth Mathews participated in this event and contributed to the final version of  The State of the Apparel Sector 2015 Special Report on Water

    Click on the image for a short film of the event.

    This year’s award went to Pratibha Syntex which is educating a network of 30 000 Indian cotton farmers and making collaboration a key to decrease use of water in every step. It leads the way in the development of organic farming techniques, supports capacity building and economic development for thousands of farmers, applies the best available water efficient dyeing techniques to fabric manufacturing, and pioneers the development of water-efficient fabrics and business models that are not cotton dependent.
     Find out more here.




WFN News

    In an interview with The Water Network, Professor Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente called for water footprint caps in river basins,  water footprint benchmarks per ​production ​process and ​product, for a discussion of fair water footprint shares per country ​at the ​international ​level and for product ​​transparency.
    World leaders fear for a water crisis”, said Dutch newspaper, Trouw, in an article that features interviews with Water Footprint Network’s Ruth Mathews and Professor Arjen Hoekstra.

    On 21st September, the United Nations launched ”The Water Rooms”, a unique project that journeys into the world of freshwater resources. The series of five inspirational animated movies, intertwined by five monologues, was screened and performed live for the first time during a high-level event at the prestigious Italian Pavilion inside Expo Milan.

    In the second film, ‘Where is Water?, UNESCO WWAP use Water Footprint Network’s data to create an engaging and succinct story about the water footprint of the products we consume. Producer, Steve Cutts, use of animation clearly illustrates our inter-dependency on fresh water in a globalized economy and illuminates our collective responsibility to live sustainably, within earth's ecological limits.
    Find out more about “The Water Rooms” and watch the rest of the series here.  
    Water Footprint Network welcomes our new partner, Sustento, a consultancy firm that assists public and private sector entities in Latin America to better understand, quantify, and improve the sustainability of their activities.  Find out more here.




Partner News

    Water Footprint Network partner, made blue, has been nominated for this year’s Sprout Challenger50: a list of fifty of the most challenging, innovative companies in the Netherlands. Find out more here.
    Water Footprint Network founding partner, WWF, is furthering the Water Stewardship agenda in China and Pakistan. On 18th November, WWF, H&M and the China Water Expo are sponsoring an event in Beijing on ‘Water Innovation in China’s Apparel/Textile Supply Chain’. Participants will discuss solutions to China’s water risks through wastewater treatment and water stewardship. Find out more here.  
    WWF-Pakistan is pioneering the AWS standards in Pakistan. On 27 October, it hosted a Water Symposium and Launch Ceremony of Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard in Lahore, in collaboration with Nestlé Pakistan. Find out more here.





WFN Contact



Water Footprint Network
International Water House
Bezuidenhoutseweg 2
2594 AV The Hague
The Netherlands


+31 85 484 9600

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