Newsletter February 2017




web version of this newsletter





Executive Director’s note

As the year gets underway, our plans to provide additional value to our partners are progressing. I’m proud to say that we now have three Community Platforms hosted on our website – a Learning Community Platform for those participating in our courses, a Researchers’ Community Platform for members of our Water Footprint Research Alliance and a Practitioners’ Community Platform for all partners with an interest in Water Footprint Assessment. We’re currently testing the Practitioners’ Community Platform with a select group of active partners and look forward to inviting all partners to join it once we have fine-tuned it to best serve the community.
This progress comes amidst many changes here at Water Footprint Network. As we prepare to welcome Dr. Christopher Briggs as our new Executive Director in March, we’ll be saying our fond farewells to Dr. Guoping Zhang, who will be leaving us to take up an exciting new opportunity at the World Bank. Guoping was the first employee of Water Footprint Network and leaves behind a strong legacy of innovative work. His gentle kindness, sense of humour, technical prowess and immense dedication will be missed.
As I step into my new role as Chief Policy Advisor next month, this will be my last message to you through the newsletter. I’d like to express my gratitude to our partners, members of the Supervisory Board, the staff and all our other supporters who have joined me in building a strong, dynamic organisation tackling one of the most challenging and important issues of our time – fair and smart use of the world’s fresh water. I’m looking forward to handing over the reins and having more time to engage with all of you to drive greater impact.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    Session @ EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 23rd – 28th April 2017

    Water Footprint Network and partners will convene a PICO session at the EGU General Assembly 2017 entitled ‘Hydrological Sciences and Water Footprint Assessment for monitoring and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’.
    The session (number HS5.10) aims to show how relevant water footprint is for monitoring and reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Particular focus will be given to how Water Footprint Assessment can help measure various SDG targets and guide policy and action towards meeting those targets. The session will involve identification of existing gaps and advances in scientific knowledge in this field.

    Find out more about the EGU General Assembly here. The full meeting programme will be available on 2nd March 2017.

    Session @ BCI Global Cotton Conference, Berlin, Germany 17th – 18th May 2017

    Ruth Mathews is leading the session Implementing Water Stewardship in Cotton Production during the first Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) 2017 Global Cotton Conference, an event that will bring the entire sector together to shape a more sustainable future for the cotton industry. The session will consider three perspectives related to using freshwater resources sustainably in cotton production: environmental; social; and economic. Implementation of those three pillars of water stewardship at the farm level will be discussed.

    Read the agenda here and register here.

    Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW), The Netherlands, 30th Oct – 3rd Nov 2017

    Call for challenging water cases and solutions!

    This year, AIWW is inviting representatives of cities, industries, utilities and international institutions to submit examples of water cases, e.g., a city facing specific water challenges, an industry wishing to reduce its’ water footprint or a region wanting to increase agricultural yield with less water and solutions, e.g., a game changing innovation, an in depth analyses, a best practice or model, or a new scientific insight.
    Each case will be ‘matched’ with suitable international experts and leaders for a rich dialogue that will help them advance to solutions. In doing so, AIWW aims to achieve real breakthroughs in line with the conference theme, the transition to a circular and resilient water environment for high density living.
    Water Footprint Network is helping to organise this conference and encourages partners to submit water cases and solutions. The call for cases and solutions is open until the 31st March and can be found here.




Past Events

    Expert Meeting on Valuing Water, February 2nd 2017
    Ruth Mathews participated in this meeting of experts from different sectors providing guidance to the Valuing Water Initiative, which is part of the High Level Panel on Water convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the World Bank Group Dr. Jim Yong Kim last year. The panel’s call to action to shift global perspectives on water was taken up by G20 agriculture ministers at the 9th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference last month, when they adopted an action plan to foster sustainability and advance innovation towards food and water security.

    FMO’s sustainability policy consultation

    Water Footprint Network contributed to The Netherlands Development Finance Company’s (FMO) consultation on their sustainability policy focusing on energy, climate change, resource efficiency and natural capital. We highlighted the importance of considering the tradeoffs between water and energy and their impacts on climate change and the need to assess environmental impacts within the local context.

    Better Cotton Initiative’s standard revision
    The second and final round of public consultation on BCI’s standard revision has just ended. With support from Water Footprint Network, the new water principle of the Better Cotton Standard System aims to shift cotton farmers’ perspective on water from that of a basic farm input to a precious resource that must be cared for. The updated standard will be implemented after comments from the consultation are addressed and approved by the BCI Council in June 2017.







Water Footprint Network News

    • We have added new data on the monthly blue water footprint of production to the WaterStat database. The data are averages over the period 1996-2005 and presented in m3/month at the 30×30 arc minute grid scale. The total blue water footprint of production is the sum of blue water footprint for agriculture, industry and domestic sectors per grid cell.
    • Water Footprint Network’s Ashok Chapagain and Daniel Chico and Sustento’s Justin Boreson contributed an article entitled ‘Evaluations of the water footprint for public policies’ to ECLAC’s circular, February 2017 (see page 5).
    • If you missed The Forest Trends’ Water Initiative webinar ‘Water Footprint: An Opportunity for Scaling Investment in Green Infrastructure’, held in December 2016 with Water Footprint Network, Valuing Nature and WWF International, it is now available on youtube.




Partner News

    • Read this blog by EsAgua on tools to calculate the water footprint of SMEs and citizens (in Spanish).
    • An interview with Professor Arjen Hoekstra in the December issue of Water Front Magazine describes how his expertise led to a new inter-disciplinary research field that addresses the ties between water management, consumption and trade. 
    • The University of Twente in the Netherlands has a PhD vacancy to study the societal transition to reduce the grey water footprint of human and veterinary medicines. The student will be positioned within the world-renowned water management research group at the university. The work is carried out as part of an international consortium.
           Find out more about this opportunity here.
           Application deadline: 15th March 2017.





    Gobin, A., Kersebaum, K., Eitzinger, J., Trnka, M., Hlavinka, P., Takáč, J., Kroes, J.,Ventrella, D., Dalla Marta, A., Deelstra, J., Lalić, B., Nejedlik, P., Orlandini, S., Peltonen-Sainio, P., Rajala, A., Saue, T., Şaylan, L., Stričevic, R., Vučetić, V., Zoumides, C. (2017). Variability in the Water Footprint of Arable Crop Production across European Regions, published in Water, 9(2), 93.
    This paper assesses the green, blue and grey water footprint of wheat, barley, grain maize, oilseed rape, potato and sugar beet using location specific weather, soil and crop inputs for 45 locations for the period 1992–2012 across Europe. Among key findings on the effect of different irrigation technologies and fertilisers use on crop yield and associated water footprint of production is that water footprint is a measurable indicator that can support European water governance.

    Bosire, C.K., Lannerstad, M., De Leeuw, J., Krol, M.S., Ogutu, J.O., Ochungo, P.A. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2017) Urban consumption of meat and milk and its green and blue water footprints: Patterns in the 1980s and 2000s for Nairobi, Kenya, published in Science of the Total Environment, 579: 786–796.
    This paper estimates, analyses and interprets the changes in consumption of meat and milk for three income classes in Nairobi, the ratio of domestic production to imports, and the water footprint (the volume of freshwater consumed) to produce these commodities in Kenya and abroad. It concludes that a likely future rise in the consumption of meat and milk in Nairobi will further enlarge the city's water footprint. Given Kenya's looming blue water scarcity, it is anticipated that this water footprint will increasingly spill over the borders of the country. Accordingly, policies aimed at meeting the rise in demand for meat and milk should consider the associated environmental constraints and the economic implications both nationally and internationally.








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