Newsletter Januari 2016




web version of this newsletter





Executive Director’s note

When I was first considering whether to become a water professional, an acquaintance said to me, “Great choice, it’s going to be a hot topic for the next twenty years”. That was more than twenty years ago and the advice is even more relevant now. The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2016, published this month, places water crises at the top of the list of global risks of highest concern. Based on a survey of nearly 750 members of the World Economic Forum, almost 40% deemed water crises to be the risk to be most worried about over the next 10 years.

The Top Five Global Risks of Highest Concern

The report warns that “Interstate tensions over water access…could impact the evolution of the international security landscape” and cites the need to significantly change current water management practices to meet growing competition for water between agriculture, energy, industry, and cities.

With failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, extreme weather events and food crises closely following water crises, it is evident that business leaders are tuning into the economic impacts of mismanagement of natural resources. Recent massive human migration further underlines that social instability can be instigated by this mismanagement. The time may be coming that environmentally sustainable use and equitable sharing of water resources may not only be good business but may be recognised as a requisite for business sustainability.

Water Footprint Network and its partners are well poised to help with the transition from economic growth based business to sustainable business.  The last seven years have been fertile ground for demonstrating how water footprint research and scientific insights can be applied through Water Footprint Assessments to solve critical issues for governments, companies and society. With these foundations, and the challenges ahead, the next ten years will demand innovation, collaboration and a long-term view.

I made the right choice when I became a water professional and I am looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead together with you.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    CALL FOR ABSTRACTS! Deadline 12th February 2016.
    First Symposium of the Water Footprint Research Alliance, Cape Town, South Africa. Read on to find out more.

    Annual Danish Water Forum Jubilee Meeting, Frederiksberg, Denmark, 28th January 2016
    Ruth Mathews will present 'Water footprint in food production’ at DWF’s 10th Annual Jubilee Meeting on water research and innovation. This will be one of a series of opening themes that are considered as game changers on how we will look at the water sector over the next two decades.
    Read the programme here.

    Final EURO-AGRIWAT conference, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 7th-9th March 2016
    "Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions".
    Founder of Water Footprint Network, Prof. Arjen Hoekstra and our Executive Director, Ruth Mathews, will present keynote speeches at this event. Ruth’s closing speech will draw on the private sector’s experience of water footprint helps them address water issues in their agricultural supply chains.
    For more information click here.
    To register click here. Deadline for registration is 7th February, 2016.

    First Symposium of the Water Footprint Research Alliance, Cape Town, South Africa, 4th - 7th April, 2016.
    The first ever Symposium of the Water Footprint Research Alliance is being organised by Water Footprint Network with South Africa’s University of the Free State and Water Research Commission. This year’s theme will be 'Water footprint and sustainable water use in food production’ and will feature a keynote speech by Prof. Arjen Hoekstra.
    CALL FOR ABSTRACTS! Deadline 12th February.
    Academics, practitioners and enthusiasts using Water Footprint Assessment are cordially invited to submit high quality, original abstracts, to be followed later by a final paper for presentation at the conference.
    Click here to find out more about the call for abstracts and here to submit the abstracts.

    For more information about the conference or call for abstracts, please contact: Henry Jordaan at the University of the Free State or Xander de Bruine at Water Footprint Network

    Click here to find out more about the Water Footprint Research Alliance and how to become a member.

    European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016, Vienna, Austria, 17th-22nd April, 2016.
    EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience. A session entitled “Water Footprint Assessment & Strategies for Food & Water Security” will be convened and presentations will include leading research and applications in Water Footprint Assessment.  
    Click here to find out more.
    The meeting programme will be available on 2nd March, 2016.





    A new paper published in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, “Green and blue water footprint reduction in irrigated agriculture: effect of irrigation techniques, irrigation strategies and mulching” by A. D. Chukalla, M. S. Krol, and A. Y. Hoekstra, University of Twente, explores the effectiveness of measures to reduce the water footprint in irrigated crop production.

    Anthropogenic Nitrogen and Phosphorus Emissions and Related Grey Water Footprints Caused by EU-27′s Crop Production and Consumption, published by our Water Footprint Research Alliance partner, University Twente, together with projects partners of EU CREEA (Compiling and Refining Environmental and Economic Accounts), estimates anthropogenic nitrogen and phosphorus emissions to fresh water related to global crop production.  Authors: Mesfin M. Mekonnen; Stephan Lutter; and Aldo Martinez.







Event News

    Water Footprint Assessment and sustainable water management, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey, 25th December 2015.
    Water Footprint Network’s Project Manager, Dr. Ertug Ercin, gave a keynote lecture to: Director of River Basin Management of the Ministry of Water and Forestry; Director of River Basin Management and experts from the Department of Water Allocation and Transboundary Water Management; experts from the Ministry for Industry; and professors, lecturers and researchers from Ankara University.

    Water Footprint Assessment and sustainable water management, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 18th December 2015.
    Dr. Ertug Ercin gave a keynote lecture to professors, lecturers and researchers from the university, an expert from the World Bank and consulting companies.

    Tour du Valat meeting on Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory meeting, Arles, France 17th December 2015.
    Water Footprint Network’s Programme Director, Dr. Guoping Zhang, presented the initial results of a feasibility study to apply water footprint indicators to the Mediterranean region, as part of a MedWet/Tour du Valat initiative to monitor and assess Mediterranean wetlands. The study formed Phase 1 under the project “Assessing Pressures on Water and Wetlands in the Mediterranean through the Water Footprint Indicators” and the indicators covered all the Mediterranean area using available global data sets (1996-2005). Because the the water footprint indicators have a global coverage, the area can be compared to other regions.
    A group of experts and stakeholders from Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory, Tour du Valat, EMWIS (Euro-Mediterranean Information System) and Plan Bleu attended the event and fed back positively on the results. They discussed the ways forward to acquiring resources for implementing the project Phase 2, which will be an important contribution to the MedWet Framework for Action 2016-2030.

    Find out more on the EMWIS website.

    ‘Brown Bag Lunch Meeting’, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands, 12.00-13.30 CET, 16th December 2015
    Ruth Mathews presented at a lunch meeting hosted by Karn Roelefs, Head, Environment and Water Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topic of the session was ‘Improving Water Productivity through Water Footprint Assessment’ and included case study examples and recommendations on how Water Footprint Assessment can measure, prioritize and monitor improvements in water productivity. A lively discussion followed the presentation and confirmed the value Water Footprint Assessment has to bring to this topic.

    Water Footprint of Mugla Province: Sustainable Water Management Plan, Mugla, Turkey, 15th December 2015
    Dr. Ertug Ercin was a keynote speaker at this event. It was held to officially conclude this water footprint project, to which Water Footprint Network contributed technical assistance and supervision. The project formulated a sustainable water management plan for Mugla province, which is a popular tourist destination and important in agricultural production. A number of high level participants attended, including the Governor of the province, the rector of Mugla University, and directors of the municipality’s water department.




WFN Partner News

    Water Footprint Network’s partner, WWF (Turkey), presented the water footprint of Turkey at the ‘Water efficiency in Industry, Sustainable Production Symposium’ in Izmir on 16th December 2015, organised by the Turkish Ministry of Industry. Participants included: Minister of Industry; the rector of Dokuz Eylül University; the Governor of Izmir; Coca-Cola; Yasar; and university researchers. The meeting was attended by Dr. Ertug Ercin.




WFN News

    • Free to download! 18 articles on "Water Footprints & Sustainable Water Allocation" from Sustainability. Guest Editors Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra, University of Twente and Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain, Water Footprint Network.
    • LA Times claims 2015 was the year that consumers learned about the water footprint of food as the debate over the agricultural sector’s use of water intensified in California.
    • ‘Business Insider’ lists lack of access to water as one of “15 ways the world will be terrifying in 2050” and calls for science and technology to start focusing on solutions to make the future better.
    • Water Footprint Network welcomes our new partner, Earth’s Whisper, an Iranian institution for environmental education.





WFN Contact



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


+31 85 484 9600

Follow us on:
facebook twitter linkedin



Manage your subscription:


Send to a friend