Water Footprint Network Newsletter May 2015




web version of this newsletter





Executive Director’s note

I had the privilege to participate in three important water events this spring.  The first was World Water Day, held in San Luis, Argentina.  This event brought together international experts in water and local public authorities, teachers and students.  This province is primarily agricultural and is aware that its economic development relies substantially on water. It has completed a water footprint study to better understand its dependence and how to improve water management now and into the future.  

laFrom Argentina, I travelled to Chile to attend Latin America Water Week, a biennial event that focuses on water issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.  With this region facing increasing levels of water scarcity and pollution, whilst also expanding its export of agricultural products, the discussions about water were lively and to the point.  I presented in a seminar on ‘Strategic Corporate Water Management’, convened by the Swiss Development Corporation (COSUDE).  Switzerland, recognising that most of its water footprint is external to the country, is investing in improving the water footprint of companies operating in Colombia, Peru and Chile and helping the governments develop stronger polices for managing water in river basins.  At the seminar, we discussed how Water Footprint Assessment can be used to set maximum sustainable water footprint caps for river basins, drive resource efficiency and address equitable allocation of water resources.  

My final stop was the World Water Forum in South Korea, where the global community came together to share best practices and explore emerging issues. We chose this event to launch our new brand identity and website, designed so that we can better serve the growing need for Water Footprint Assessment.  At the event, we shared our experience in sessions on water stewardship, public-private partnerships, water for food and energy, the circular economy and in the EU regional process, demonstrating the range and variety of ways that our work in Water Footprint Assessment is contributing to global water expertise and solutions.

These three events exemplify that water problems - and their solutions - occur at local, regional and global scales and need to involve individuals, local communities, businesses, governments and a cadre of trained experts.  They are a testament to the leadership and innovation occuring around the world, giving us hope and showing us the way.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Trainings

    Global Water Footprint Standard Intensive Training Course
    The Netherlands, 9th - 12th June, 2015

    This four-day course, taught by the top global experts in Water Footprint Assessment, is the highlight of our training agenda. Participants will learn about the latest innovations in water footprint research and application. You will gain experience in using Water Footprint Assessment in a range of applications, from calculating the water footprint of agriculture, industry or domestic water use at all scales, to assessing its sustainability, and using these results to identify the priority strategic actions for companies, governments, NGOs and individuals.  A session on the ISO 14046 standard and its relationship with Global Water Footprint Standard will be included.  

    This course is valuable for everyone involved in water and environmental resources management from businesses, governments, non-governmental organisations and academia.  Taught in an interactive way, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and personalised attention.  

    Find out more about the course and register your place here.
    Registration deadline: 1st June, 2015.




WFN News

    NEW! Water Footprint Research Alliance (WFRA) to be launched 26th May, 2015
    WFN and our partners will launch the new Water Footprint Research Alliance (WFRA) during our special session at the XVth World Water Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. The alliance aims to bring together research partners in order to broaden the knowledge base supporting WFA application. We invite all WFN partners who can contribute to the advancement of WFA research to join the new alliance.
    Contact us to find out more and get involved here.
    Read on to find to more about our special session at World Water Congress.

    WFN partner, GRACE Communications Foundation, launches new Water Footprint Calculator, April 30th, 2015
    WFN would like to congratulate its partner, GRACE Communications Foundation, on their new Water Footprint Calculator.
    For more information see here.
    Access the calculator here.

    WFN information used for popular graphics by media
    National Geographic, 9th April, 2015: National Geographic used WFN’s global water footprint averages to create infographics that explain ‘The Hidden Water We Use’.
    See the graphic here.

    LA Times 7th April, 2015: Interactive graphics of the water footprint of animal products were created using WFN data and methodology, as part of the feature ‘How what you eat demands more water than what you think it does’.
    See the feature and graphics here.







Upcoming Events

    WFN @ XVth World Water Congress, International Water Resources Association, Edinburgh, Scotland, 25th  – 29th May, 2015  
    We invite you to join our special session on ‘Water Footprint Assessment: A new frontier in water resource management’ on Tuesday 26th May 14.45 - 18.15,
    The seminar will present innovative research to help outline the existing knowledge base and to debate current research gaps in applying Water Footprint Assessment. It will illuminate how we can integrate theory into practice by providing a platform for scientists and practitioners to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the existing knowledge base and to identify practical problems in implementing it in different fields, ranging from public policy making to investments, from awareness raising to capacity building, and in cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue in river basins.
    Co-conveners and WFRA partners: Beijing Forestry University (China); NWAFU (Northwestern A&F University, China); University of Twente (The Netherlands); Botin Foundation (Spain); University of Free State (South Africa).
    Read the special sessions programme here.
    Read the full Congress programme here.
    Register your place here.  
    WFN @ 2015 World Water Week in Stockholm, City Conference Centre, August 23rd – 28th, 2015.
    Organised by SIWI, the theme this year is Water for Development. This is jubilee year for both World Water Week and for the Stockholm Water Prize.
    On Sunday 23rd August, 14.00-15.30, WFN will present “Capacity Building Towards Sustainable Cotton Cultivation: Water Footprint Reduction Strategies” at a workshop entitled “Implementing the SDGs in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. As part of our work with C&A to develop a sustainable water footprint strategy for the company’s supply-chain, we conducted a Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) of cotton cultivation in three states of India. WFAs highlight which changes need to be made to reduce the water footprint. In this case, the study illuminated the need to increase the capacity of the cotton farmers to use water efficiently and to improve income, thereby directly working towards the SDG’s.
    On Tuesday 25th August, WFN and Alliance for Water Stewardship will convene a seminar entitled “Feeding Nine Billion People: How Water Stewardship Can Help”.  Companies dependent on agricultural inputs are increasingly looking for sustainable sources to reduce water-related business risk. Reliance on unsustainable agricultural supply chains is putting people and business at risk. These combined pressures for sustainable agriculture call for a rapid increase in water stewardship. We will present diverse examples of the application of the Water Footprint Assessment and AWS Standard and host a lively, interactive discussions to explore the potential of water stewardship to drive sustainability through agricultural supply chains, and thereby contribute to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    WFN will organise partner events in Stockholm during World Water Week. Details on these events will be available soon.
    Find out more about SWWW here.
    Register here. Early bird registration closes 30th June.




Events news

    WFN @ UN-WWAP ‘Water for a Sustainable World’ conference, Venice, Italy, 21st-22nd May, 2015
    Hosted and led by UNESCO, the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) presented the annual United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2015), “Water for a Sustainable World”, the latest flagship publication of the United Nations on the state, use and management of the world’s freshwater resources.
    On Friday 22nd May, Ruth Mathews presented at a panel discussion entitled “Responding to the challenges”. She talked about the water footprint of agriculture, energy production and manufacturing sectors and asserted that considerable efforts will be necessary in the fields of policy-making, technological innovation, and behavioural changes to make these sector’s water use sustainable.
    For more information on this conference, please check the website

    WFN @ World Water Forum 2015, Daegu, Gyeongbuk, Korea, 12th – 17th April, 2015
    Read the Implementation Commitment here.

    WFN @ Water Week Latin America, Viña del Mar, Chile, 22nd – 27th March, 2015
    In addition to WFN’s presentation on “Strategic corporate water management” by Ruth Mathews, WFN’s Daniel Chico and our partners in the Swiss Development Corporation’s Suizagua Andina programme, Quantis and Fundación Chile, presented a session on the geographical assessment of the water footprint, a crucial element of the water footprint response formulation. The session, attended by professionals from the water and private sector, was part of the course “New ISO 14046: Water footprint accounting for sustainable water management”, held to develop understanding of Water Footprint Assessment and ISO 14046 and to provide companies and governments with the tools they need to manage water sustainably.

    WFN Capacity Building Workshop, Chilean Water Directorate, 20th March, 2015
    This workshop was part of our project “Water Footprint Report in Chile - Priority areas for Rapel River Basin“, led by Fundación Chile and funded by COSUDE and the Chilean Water Directorate.  WFN conducted sessions on “Context and Methodology of the Water Footprint Assessment” and “Sustainability Assessment of the Water Footprint: International Experiences”. The project aims to establish a Water Footprint Assessment framework that can be applied to the entire country at basin scale, and to provide Chilean information sources that can be used for water management by the Water Directorate. WFN brings technical assessment and expertise to the project, as well as international experience.

    WFN @ IV International Congress “Water and Sustainable Development”
    World Water Day 2015: "The Water Leads Us", San Luis, Argentina, 19th – 23rd March, 2015
    Watch a video summary of the Congress (in Spanish) here.





WFN Contact



Horst Building
Room HR-W114
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands


+3153 489 5383

Follow us on:
facebook twitter linkedin



Manage your subscription:


Send to a friend