Newsletter August 2016




web version of this newsletter





Executive Director’s note

During the past two months, we’ve launched two organisational reports – our Annual Report 2015 and our Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020.

Each report explains our work to advance progress towards sustainable development. One looks at our achievements over the past year and the other builds upon those achievements to define our focus, direction and unique contribution in the years ahead. Both demonstrate our commitment to fair and smart water use and elucidate how we can contribute to a wide range of public and private sector sustainability initiatives. Most importantly, both are intended to open our doors wider to everyone with an interest in how we use and manage our resources for the benefit of people and nature.

Central to our strategy is our commitment to invest in strengthening the Network through customised partner programmes and engaging with more partners in shared activities. To direct our investment of resources, we’ve created a survey questionnaire to find out what activities our partners would find most beneficial. In case you haven’t already completed it, we'd very much like to hear from you.

Updating tools and data is also a key element of our strategy. As part of our efforts to provide reliable and up-to-date information and research we're seeking an intern to support our work on the development of the water footprint database, focusing on industrial materials and products. If you know of any suitable candidates, please pass the internship description on to them and circulate it via your networks.

We hope you enjoy reading about our work and feel inspired to explore our open invitation to collaborate further.
Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    Water Footprint Network @ UN ESCAP roundtable on water scarcity, United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, 25th – 26th August 2016

    Ruth Mathews has been invited to present on how Water Footprint Assessment can help the resort industry in southeast Asia deal with growing water scarcity and more frequent droughts. Organised by UN ESCAP, this event aims to develop a programme and guide on regional cooperation and national actions to improve the adoption and implementation of Responsible Business Practices in the resort industry and on how to effectively address water scarcity in particular. The meeting will seek synergies for public-private sector partnerships and will provide an opportunity for the business sector to engage with leading Responsible Business Practices.

    Read the agenda here.

    Water Footprint Network @ 2016 World Water Week in Stockholm, Stockholm City Conference Centre, 28th August – 2nd September, 2016

    What: Identifying Water Stewardship Actions to Improve Business Water Security
    Where: FH Little Theatre
    When: Wednesday 31st August, 14.25 hours

    This year’s theme is Water for Sustainable Growth and will address the role of water in the post-2015 development agenda. Water Footprint Network will present ‘Identifying Water Stewardship Actions to Improve Business Water Security’, as part of a seminar entitled ‘Water to fuel business growth ‘, co-convened by World Wildlife Fund, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Deloitte and DHI Group.

    Water Footprint Network has developed a Risk Assessment Framework (RAF) that can be applied to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supply chains and global portfolios. It has proved valuable in raising awareness in companies and investors of the role of water in building sustainable business activities. By combining water quantity and quality, regulatory conditions and protected areas, the RAF provides a comprehensive view of local and basin conditions within which they operate. These insights can help businesses tailor actions that manage risk and support their water stewardship journey and can be used by investors interested in reducing their water footprint while increasing their social impact.

    See the SIWI programme for further information about this seminar.
    Register for World Water Week here.

    Master Course: Hydrology & Water Footprint Assessment, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 5th September – 11th November 2016

    This 10-week course at Master of Science level is open to students and professionals from different disciplines. A Bachelor degree in some related field is required. External participants will join students following University of Twente’s Master Programme in Civil Engineering and Management (Specialisation in Water Engineering and Management). The course is conducted in English. The study load is 15 ECTS-credits (420 hours spread over 10 weeks). Water Footprint Network staff contribute lectures at this course, bringing in our experience with applying Water Footprint Assessment in working with companies and governments.

    Find out more here.

    AGU Fall Meeting, San Fransisco, USA, 12th -16th December 2016

    This is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. Water Footprint Network will convene a session entitled ‘Linking water with economy: Examining emerging practices, policy and research in Water Footprint Assessment’. The session will primarily focus on: monitoring and achieving the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); new data (e.g., use of Remote Sensing), tools and development indicators; water productivity and efficient water use, water related risk assessment and stewardship approaches; and practices and governance that contribute to sustainable, efficient, and equitable water use. Co-conveners are Arizona State University, Louisiana State University and University of the Free State, South Africa.
    Find out more about this session here.
    Registration will open soon. Please check the AGU website.




Water Footprint Network News

    The Save H2O Project has produced a new set of tools and training materials to help SMEs in Europe understand their water footprint in order to embed sustainable water management into their businesses. Water Footprint Network is part of a consortium that has been working on this project. Available online in English, French, Portuguese, Croatian, Greek, Italian and Dutch:
    • A Water Footprint Calculator specifically designed for SMEs in the food, textile and metal industries in six European countries.
    • A free complete online training course to help SMEs improve their business’ sustainability performance and the competitiveness of their production systems.

    Read more here.

    The Belgian publication, Moustique, has used our data in an article about Earth Overshoot Day.

    A new water footprint campaign "Treat Without Meat", launched by the Chinese NGO Green Initiatives, uses Water Footprint Network’s data to calculate the quantity of water consumed in people's daily activities. The initiative is partnering with Thirst, We Are Water Foundation and Roca.







Partner News

    Aguas de Murcia has joined EsAgua, the Spanish water footprint platform set up earlier this year for businesses seeking to achieve more sustainable and equitable use of fresh water. The platform is supported by CEIGRAM, the R&D Center of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Read more (in Spanish) here.

    Our founding partner World Business Council for Sustainable Developments’ Global Water Tool has been used by HP Inc. to reduce its water footprint by assessing water scarcity and identifying HP sites that are considered water stressed. The company claims it has reduced its water footprint by 12%.

    Our partner, GRACE Communications Foundation’s water footprint calculator was featured in an article issued by Water Deeply.





    Mayer, A., Mubako, S. and Ruddell B. L. (2016)Developing the greatest Blue Economy: Water productivity, fresh water depletion and virtual water trade in the Great Lakes basin, Earth’s Future, 4, doi:10.1002/2016EF000371.

    This study, co-authored by our partner, Ben Ruddell, at Arizona State University, assesses the potential for the Great Lakes region to sustainably utilize its relative water wealth for economic benefit. The findings suggest that the region’s water-based economy has room to grow in the 21st century.

    Miguel-Ayala, L., van Eupen, M., Zhang, G.P., Pérez-Soba, M., Martorano, L.G. Lisboa, L. S, and Beltrao, N.E. (2016) Impact of agricultural expansion on water footprint in the Amazon under climate change scenarios, Science of the Total Environment, 569-570: 1159-1173.

    This study, co-authored by our Science Director, Guoping Zhang, assesses the sustainability of the water footprint in the Tapajós river basin, a region in the Brazilian Amazon where soybean production is expanding and intensifying. The results find that soybean production in 2010 lies within sustainability limits. However, current trends lead to large impacts in relation to water pollution and water use, affecting protected areas. Management practices such as water consumption regulations to stimulate efficient water use, reduction of crop water use and evapotranspiration, and optimal fertiliser application control could be key factors in achieving sustainability within a river basin.
    Zhuo, L., Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2016) Consumptive water footprint and virtual water trade scenarios for China – with a focus on crop production, consumption and trade, Environment International, 94: 211–223.

    This study indicated that China could attain a high degree of food self-sufficiency while simultaneously reducing water consumption in agriculture, providing water and cropland is well managed, that there are effective and coherent policies on water, agriculture and infrastructure, and there is a shift to a diet containing less meat.


    Relationship between relative changes in crop yields and relative changes in corresponding water footprint per tonne of crop. One dot refers to projection for one crop under one GCM for one scenario for one year.

    Mesfin M. Mekonnen, P.W. Gerbens-Leenes, Arjen Y. Hoekstra (2016) Future electricity: The challenge of reducing both carbon and water footprint, Science Direct doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.204.

    This study assesses the consumptive water footprint in the year 2035 related to five energy scenarios. It considers water use in fuel, construction and in the operational phase. It finds that the ‘greenest’ International Energy Agency scenario (with the smallest carbon footprint) shows the largest water footprint increase over time and that quick transition to solar, wind and geothermal energy and a minimum in bio-energy is the only scenario that shows a strong decline in both carbon footprint and consumptive water footprint in 2035 compared to the reference year, 2010.




Vacancy @ Water Footprint Network

    Water Footprint Network is seeking an intern to support our work on the development of the water footprint database, focusing on industrial materials and products.  The internship will be for three months, based at our offices in The Hague.

    For more information, please visit our website.
    Deadline for applications: 15th September 2016.








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