Water Footprint Assessment of washing-dyeing-finishing mills in China & Bangladesh
by the Water Footprint Network assessed water consumption and pollution in the washing-dyeing-finishing stage of the supply chain of the global clothing retailer C&A, starting in 2013 and 2014. Its findings include these concepts: better water metering and monitoring is crucial in order to accurately measure impacts on local water resources; around Dhaka, Bangladesh, washing-dyeing-finishing mills are abstracting water from limited groundwater resources which is causing long-term decline in groundwater levels; and that cleaner production measures within the mills are important actions for reducing their contribution to degraded water quality.
An assessment of sustainability issues related to viscose fibres production
by Water Footprint Network concludes that, while there are several valuable initiatives addressing sustainability issues in textile production, there are important gaps, which need to be addressed in order to progress towards sustainable viscose production. These include: moving away from the tendency to apply the results from specific assessments to all fibres produced which can lead to misleading comparisons and results; addressing the logging of endangered and ancient forests by all viscose fibres producers and apparel brands; and the need to address substantial gaps in sustainability certification
systems and initiatives when it comes to the industrial stages of viscose fibres
Water Footprint Assessment of polyester and viscose
by Water Footprint Network for the C&A Foundation builds an understanding of the water footprint related to polyester and viscose and compares it with the water footprint of cotton. The results highlight that the practices and technologies used in fibres production have a significant impact on the water footprint. The magnitude of the water footprint and the sustainability issues in the locations in which the footprint is found indicate that mechanisms and initiatives to address the sustainability issues associated with polyester and viscose fibres production are urgently needed.
Reducing the water footprint of cotton cultivation in India
Part 1: Guidance: How to reduce the water footprint of cotton cultivation in India.
Part 2: Training: Guiding farmers toward sustainable cotton production – Managing the water footprint on cotton farms
These materials have been developed for use by those involved in training and capacity building of farmers, such as experts in agriculture extension services and other organisations helping farmers improve their agricultural practices. They can be used to help farmers understand why, how and when they can minimise the water footprint of cotton farming in their fields. Every farm is different and so the agricultural practices presented here should be taken individually or in combination to maximise yields while minimising the environmental impacts.
Direct and indirect urban water footprints of the United States
In this study
, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign estimate indirect water footprints of the United States for the first time. Then, they determine the total water footprint of cities for which direct water utility data is available. This enables them to present a novel comparison between the direct and indirect water footprints of cities.
Drought impacts to water footprints and virtual water transfers of the Central Valley of California
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is productive! In this other paper
they quantify drought impacts to water footprints and virtual water transfers from the Central Valley of California. To do this, they utilize data sets at high spatial and temporal resolution and a crop model from pre-drought conditions through three years of exceptional drought. The researchers find that virtual groundwater transfers increased dramatically over the course of the drought.
The water footprint of wood for lumber, pulp, paper, fuel and firewood
In a paper
in Advances in Water Resources
, researchers from the University of Twente present the first estimate of global water use in the forestry sector related to roundwood production for lumber, pulp, paper, fuel and firewood. For the period 1961–2010, they estimate forest evaporation at a high spatial resolution level and attribute total water consumption to various forest products, including ecosystem services. Recycling of wood products could effectively reduce the water footprint of the forestry sector, thereby leaving more water available for the generation of other ecosystem services. The results of this study contribute to a more complete picture of the human appropriation of water, thus feeding the debate on water for food or feed versus energy and wood.
Virtual water trade and bilateral conflicts
In a paper
in Advances in Water Resources
, researchers from Italy, Belgium and the UK study the relation between water scarcity and conflict and the role of virtual water in affecting the odds of militarized disputes between states. Using quantitative methods and data on virtual water trade, they find that bilateral and multilateral trade openness reduce the probability of war between any given pair of countries, which is consistent with the strategic role of this important commodity and the opportunity cost associated with the loss of trade gains. They also claim that the substantive effect of virtual water trade is comparable to that of oil and gas, the archetypal natural resources, in determining interstate conflicts’ probability.
Review paper on the water footprint of ruminant production
The recognition of water as a scarce resource has led to the development of several methodologies including water footprint assessment, life cycle assessment, and livestock water productivity to assess water use and its environmental impacts. This review paper
by Canadian and European researchers describes the approaches used to quantify water use in ruminant production systems as well as the methodological and conceptual issues associated with each approach. Water use estimates for the main products from ruminant production systems are also presented, along with possible management strategies to reduce water use.
The impact of the blue water footprint of China’s coal-fired power plants
An international group of researchers has published a paper
assessing the pressure imposed by China’s coal-fired power plants on the country’s freshwater resources. Coal-fired power plants play an important role in China’s energy supply. The study assessed water consumption of four cooling technologies: closed-cycle cooling, once-through cooling, air cooling, and seawater cooling. The researchers find that about 75% of water consumption of coal-fired power plants was from regions with absolute or chronic water scarcity. The article is co-authored by prof. Jungio Liu, prof. Hong Yang and dr Winnie Gerbens, all members of the Water Footprint Research Alliance.
A standard commodity water footprint for cities in the United States
published in JAWRA develops a standard commodity water footprint for all medium and large U.S. metropolitan areas. Notably, a minority of these cities are identified as net virtual water exporters; these tend to be "rust belt" medium sized industrial centers with modest populations.
Water footprint of regional virtual water flows related to grain production in China
by China’s Northwest A&F University provides the statistics on grain production, consumptive water footprint of grain production and related virtual water balances at different spatial scales including 31 provinces, grain production and marketing areas, eight major grain production areas, and different spatial scales in China for the year of 2014. It is part of a report series published annually in order to visualise physical and virtual water flows related to grain production and consumption for water managers and researchers in China. Buy the report here.
Evaluation of calculation methods of water footprint for crop production in China
by Northwest A&F University evaluates the applicable range and characteristics of existing calculation methods of crop water footprint for crop production in a case study for wheat production in China at the year of 2010. The results show that each of the three methods assessed have applicable scope and scientific value and indicate that which method is chosen should be based on the research scale and target.
Water footprint assessment for crop production based on field measurements in China
A collaborative study
by Northwest A&F University and Hohai University aims to explore the feasibility of evaluating green, blue and grey water footprints of crop production based on field measurements. It is based on a case study of irrigated paddy rice grown in Huai'an, East China over 2011 to 2014. The study not only demonstrates the feasibility of assessing the water footprint of crop production with field experiments, but also provides a new method for water footprint calculation based on field water and fertilizer migration processes.
The water footprint of Mexican consumption
published earlier this year by the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA) has received a very positive response. The publication is part of an initiative to stimulate debate on wise water use in Mexico and to raise awareness that water governance is an essential ingredient for the country’s development.