Newsletter June 2016




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Executive Director’s note

I was recently honoured as the Distinguished Alumna for 2016 from Fairhaven College, Western Washington University. As I look back at my education from where I am as Executive Director of Water Footprint Network, I see how well it prepared me for what I am doing now.

Here at Water Footprint Network, I work with a cross-cultural team to apply sound science to finding new solutions to the world’s water crises. Our Network brings together businesses and governments, academics and consultants, civil society and international organisations with partners from Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe, from local NGOs to the United Nations. These diverse perspectives are our strength as we work together toward fair and smart water use.

The difficult challenges we face in living within sustainable limits in river basins, in using water productively and sharing the benefits of water use fairly amongst people and with nature are daunting, yet they also provide a unique opportunity to evolve how we each structure our relationship with the earth and the waters that flow in, on and around it.

As the challenges in front of us mount, we need to push beyond the boundaries of how we’ve done things in the past, beyond the entrenched positions that pit ‘us’ against ‘them’, beyond local interests that neglect how our decisions and our actions affect people and places around the world. We need to understand how we are linked across boundaries and to celebrate life’s diversity – the perspectives of people from different countries, cultures, backgrounds and the unfathomable diversity of life that this planet supports. We need to be open to hearing the voices of all people, to cherish all the ways that life expresses itself in all corners of the world; we need to create new pathways out of this bountiful mix.

It can take courage to chart a new course, to step out of the comfort zone, to put aside our singular interests and to stand for something that others might not yet see or believe in. Looking forward, I am heartened to see Water Footprint Network, its partners and its many friends, have the courage to reach across boundaries, embrace diversity and pursue the dream we share of living in harmony with the earth and with each other.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming events

    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).

    Find out more here.

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

    Water Footprint Network will convene a session entitled ‘Linking water with economy: Examining emerging practices, policy and research in Water Footprint Assessment’ at this year’s event, the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. This 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.

    Call for abstracts: You are invited you submit an abstract for this session here. Deadline for abstracts is 3rd August, 11:59 P.M. EDT.

    Find out more about this session here.
    Registration for the AGU will open at the end of July 2016.




Events news

    Ultrapure Water Micro, The Omni Hotel Southpark, Austin, Texas June 7th – 8th 2016

    John Morgan from H2Morgan LLC  completed the Water Footprint Assessment e-learning course and gave a presentation at this year’s UWP event entitled “Water footprint assessment as a driver for strategic actions and policies for sustainable water use”, prepared with the support of Water Footprint Network’s Knowledge Manager, Xander de Bruine. UWP collects the leading thinkers, planners and doers on the water side of semiconductor manufacturing in one place to discuss technological breakthroughs and upcoming needs, cost saving and reuse opportunities, and developments in the sector.

    Find out more about the event here and read the programme here.

    Launch of 'Smart Information Solutions for Water & Climate' at the European Space Solutions Conference at the World Forum, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1st June  2016

    The Dutch Water Sector (NWP) and the Dutch Government launched this new initiative which aims to provide decision-makers and managers with reliable and accurate data as a basis for better managing and successfully coping with climate change and an increase in the frequency and severity of water related disasters. Water Footprint Network is proud to be featured in the joint portfolio of 'Smart Information Solutions for Water & Climate', which is a snapshot of over 50 organisations that are actively offering inclusive solutions that combine different information technologies.

    Read more about the initiative and its portfolio here.

    E-learning course: Water Footprint Assessment, 9th – 27th May 2016

    Water Footprint Network and the University of Twente successfully completed their online foundation course ‘Water Footprint Assessment: Concept and Application’. Participants from 9 countries took part in the course, which featured interesting discussions on: the concept of water footprint; priorities for water footprint reduction; understanding ‘sustainability hotspots’ for investment (e.g., through risk-mapping); different risk assessment tools and their different results; and the engagement of governments and corporations in water management.

    European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table Working Group 1 on Environmental Assessment Methodology, Brussels, 18th May 2016

    Water Footprint Network’s Xander de Bruine presented at this event, which is part of an initiative that is co-chaired by the European Commission and food supply chain partners and supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and European Environment Agency. Its aim is to establish the food chain as a major contributor towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe.

    Find out more here.







Water Footprint Network news

    • Apparel giant C&A has released its Sustainability Report 2015 which features Water Footprint Network’s latest work for the C&A Foundation. Through a strategic partnership with C&A, we have been supporting the company in developing a deep understanding of water consumption and pollution of two areas that have been identified as hotspots in previous work; the production of raw materials production and the garment processing stage. Through quantifying the water footprint of raw materials and processing, assessing the sustainability of these water footprints and recommending strategic response options which will reduce the water footprint or make it more sustainable, the Water Footprint Network is helping C&A reach its sustainable sourcing targets.

    • The California Department of Water Resources’ new Water Footprint webpage advises its citizens to measure both their direct and indirect water uses. It featured two online calculators designed to help individuals and households determine how much water they use:
       Water Footprint Network’s Personal Water Footprint Calculator;

       GRACE Communications Foundation Water Footprint Calculator.
    • Listen to Ruth Mathews in an interview on a BBC World Service feature about the water footprint of bottled water  - “Californian water scarcity is more about agricultural production than bottled water”.
    • The Daily Mint used WaterStat data for a news feature on the water crisis in India. While India’s per capita water consumption is below the global average, it uses far more blue water than other countries, showing the high rate of exploitation of surface and groundwater in the country and an inefficient use of water for the production of major crops.
    • Water Footprint Network welcomes our new partners, Aquafides and WeForest. Aquafides advances water footprint in Spain, conducts training courses and verifies Water Footprint Assessments to help companies become more water efficient. WeForest develops and funds a portfolio of holistic reforestation projects and engages in research and scientific discussions on the relationships between forests, water and climate change.




Partner news

    • Botin Foundation, in the framework of its Water Observatory, has launched its 3rd Edition of the Prizes to Young Talent Awards Applied to Sustainable Water Management. It invites young professionals who were born after 1st January 1976 and have produced positive results for innovation, ideas, projects and technologies in sustainable water management to enter for the awards. The deadline for submissions is 31st July 2016. Find out more here.
    • Update: AquaPath’s water footprint awareness raising campaign for responsible consumers, funded by the ERASMUS+ programme, now includes a set of water footprint calculators, developed by Water Footprint Network and a series of trainings and tests so that you can learn more about water and a leaflet for children. The project team is already touring schools and more resources for children will be available soon.
           All information and tools are available in multiple languages. Read more on the           AquaPath website.





           Read the paper here.
    • European Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050 by A. Ertug Ercin and Arjen Y. Hoekstra (2016) was published in Water. The study develops water footprint scenarios for Europe for 2050, at the country level, based on projections regarding population and economic growth, production and trade patterns, consumption patterns (diets and bioenergy use) and technological development. The objective is to estimate possible future changes in the green, blue and grey water footprint of production and consumption, to analyze the main drivers of projected changes and to assess Europe’s future dependence on water resources elsewhere in the world.
            Read the study here.
    • Energy for freshwater supply, use and disposal in the Netherlands: a case study of Dutch households by Gerbens-Leenes P.W. (2016) assesses energy requirements related to Dutch household water supply, use and disposal for all components of the freshwater chain, including energy use in the household for heating, and to compare energy for water with total household energy use. It compares the results with earlier studies to find general trends. By including energy for water use, it provides a robust estimate of the total energy footprint associated with municipal water demand in the Netherlands.
           Read the study here.
    • Imported water risk: the case of the UK by Arjen, Y. Hoekstra. and M. M. Mesfin (2016), finds that half of the UK’s global blue water footprint is located in places that exceed maximum sustainable levels. The study introduces a method to evaluate the sustainability and efficiency of the external water footprint of a country, with the UK as an example. It traces, quantifies and maps the UK’s direct and indirect water needs and assess the ‘imported water risk’ by evaluating the sustainability of the water consumption in the source regions. It also assesses the efficiency of the water consumption in source areas in order to identify the room for water savings.
           Read the study here.








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


+31 85 484 9600

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