Newsletter June 2017




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Executive Director’s note

I am pleased to say that our recent report on the EU’s vulnerability to water scarcity and drought, conducted as part of the IMPREX project, is having a positive impact. Following extensive media attention across 18 countries in more than 100 news articles, we are currently meeting with a number of institutions to discuss how we can further apply this research to advance understanding into how changes to local water availability and its uses affect economies and food security globally.
In September we will start a 15-month project with Ankara University Institute of Water Management entitled “Building Capacity on Vulnerabilities of the Agricultural Sector to Climate Change in Turkeyfor the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. A micro-scale application of our work for the IMPREX project on Climate Services, it will focus on the Bati Akdeniz river basin, which is mainly located in the south-western Mugla Province. As part of the project, which will be co-financed by the EU and the Republic of Turkey, we will build capacity in sustainable water management and use amongst all stakeholders, including decision makers, SMEs, businesses and farmers.
We hope this work will support the introduction of improved agricultural practices, targeted investments and the development of effective and integrated policies to advance food and economic security.

Dr. Christopher Briggs, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    Discussions @ EUSalt Conference ‘Innovation for the Circular Economy’, Brussels, Belgium, 14:00 to 17:30, 27th June 2017
    Water Footprint Network will join an Innovation Speed-talk’ and panel discussions related to water reuse at the European Salt Producers’ Association Conference, which intends to encourage dialogue with a diverse audience on policies relevant to the salt industry. ‘Innovation for the Circular Economy’ aims to reflect on industry’s innovative potential and on opportunities that the circular economy brings. In line with this, it will encourage exchange on the various innovation opportunities that can inspire businesses to rethink themselves. Everyone is welcome to join the conference.
    Read the programme here.
    Register here.
    E-learning course: Water Footprint Assessment, 10th – 31st July 2017
    'Water Footprint Assessment: Concept and Application’ is an online foundation course facilitated by experts from the Water Footprint Network and the University of Twente. Developed with support of the World Bank Institute, it introduces Water Footprint Assessment and explains how it can be implemented and applied to inform decisions related to water policy and management.
    This course is ideal for those wanting a flexible way of learning the basic foundations of Water Footprint Assessment and offers the advantages of studying at one’s own pace, and without any travel. It can also serve as a primer for those planning to attend the more intensive Global Water Footprint Standard training course.
    Deadline for registration: 23rd June 2017.
    Find out more about the course here.
    We will also hold this course on 13th November – 4th December 2017. Find out more here.
    Presentation @ UNEP-DHI Webinar: Source-to-Sea, 15:00 CEST, 15th August 2017

    Water Footprint Network will present at 'Overviews and approaches to Source-to-Sea’ as part of a UNEP-DHI webinar series that explores cross-disciplinary connections in water management to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG6 on freshwater and SDG14 on oceans.

    The webinar series aims to highlight the importance of understanding the cross-disciplinary connections to achieve these two goals, the relationships between them in the watershed and ocean and the value of integrating efforts to reduce negative effects and maximize potential benefits, where feasible. It will frame the issues and policy options, review some of the most widely used management approaches and explore how they could better be applied to take account of the Source-to-Sea continuum.

    More information about each webinar and registration details will follow soon.
    Events @ Stockholm World Water Week, Stockholm City Conference Centre, Sweden, 27th August – 1st September 2017
    Session, Wednesday 30th August, 09:00-10:30: Water Footprint Network and the C&A Foundation will convene a session entitled ‘Improving our waters: innovation in the textile supply chain industry’ at this year’s World Water Week event, which will focus on water and waste.
    The textile industry is globally ranked as the second largest polluter after the oil industry. A large share of that pollution ends up in water, which makes it unfit for other uses and leads to severe consequences on human health and ecosystems. This session will present state of the art initiatives and highlight innovations transforming the textile industry’s impact on the quality of water resources. Case studies will describe the sector’s sustainability journey and inspire by means of interactive discussion on the many lessons learned. It will offer valuable insights for all sectors interested in water stewardship.
    Oral presentations:

    “Water Footprint Assessment as a policy tool for pollution regulations”

    As part of the seminar ‘Opportunities and limits to water pollution regulations’, Water Footprint Network will explore how our work with the UK Environment Agency showed how Water Footprint Assessment can provide a basis for regulatory reform at the catchment level.

    “From field to fashion: examining textile’s grey water footprint”

    As part of the seminar ‘Water and Waste Management: The case of the textile industry’, Water Footprint Network will present its work to improve the sustainability of the textile industry’s supply chain by assessing the water footprint of the main fibres it uses: cotton, polyester and viscose, including the footprint caused during processing. We will show how the results demonstrate that most of the textile industry’s water footprint is a result of water pollution and explore how, by adopting better practices, the industry can contribute to the improvement of water quality and achieve positive social, environmental and economic impacts.
    Read the Stockholm World Water Week programme here.
    Register for World Water Week here.
    Amsterdam International Water Week 30th October - 3rd November 2017
    Water Footprint Network is helping to organise this year’s AIWW, which aims to address water challenges faced by cities, water utilities and industry and frame them in the context of the emerging themes of resilience and the circular economy. It plans to do so by ‘matching’ a range of challenges with suitable international experts, solutions providers and leaders in order to encourage dialogue that will enrich knowledge and identify actual breakthrough opportunities to help each case advance towards solutions.
    Find out more here.

    Session @ AGU's Fall Meeting, New Orleans, 11th – 15th December 2017

    Water Footprint Network’s Dr. Ashok Chapagain, will convene a session (ID 25950) at this year’s AGU Fall Meeting entitled “21st Century Water Statistics: Challenges and Emerging Approaches in Collecting, Processing and Sharing Water Availability, Use, Scarcity and Pollution Data”. The session is part of the Focus Group on Global Environmental Change (ID GC001) and will be co-convened by Michael Lathuilliere from the University of British Columbia and Henry Jordaan from the University of the Free State, South Africa.

    The aim of this session is to explore how emerging approaches in collecting, processing and sharing applications of data can advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how coherent agricultural, energy, tax and trade policies can be achieved by drawing together hydrological and human interventions from both water quality and quantity perspectives.
    CALL FOR ABSTRACTS! We invite you to submit an abstract to this session. The deadline for all submissions is Wednesday, 2nd August at 23:59 EDT. Abstracts will not be accepted for review after this date.

    Read more about the session here.




Recent Events

    Water footprint: indicator of water use efficiency and sustainability for better water management, Madrid, Spain, 13th June 2017

    Executive Director of Water Footprint Network, Dr. Christopher Briggs, presented how Water Footprint Assessment can be used by the public and corporate sectors to improve water management at this event, which was hosted by the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) and Spain Water, with the collaboration of EsAgua. Dr. Victor Arqued Esquia (Deputy Director General of Water Directorate of the Spanish Agriculture, Food and Environment Ministry), Dr Ramón Gutiérrez Serret (General Secretary of IAHR and Director of the Spanish Center for Hydrological Studies) and Dr Manuel Cermerón (Chief Executive Officer of Suez Advanced Solutions) introduced the sessions thereafter.
    There was also a presentation on EsAgua, the first water footprint platform for Spanish businesses, by Maria José Amores, from CETAQUA followed by a roundtable discussion on how to reduce the water footprint for a sustainable water use.
    Read the programme (in Spanish) here.

    2nd annual meeting of EsAgua, Madrid, Spain, 13th June 2017

    This annual meeting was attended by companies participating in the EsAgua platform, as well as its promoters and collaborators. Launched in February 2016, EsAgua is the first network of pioneering companies in Spain committed to reducing their water footprint – and advocating the benefits to others. A unique and innovative project by Cetaqua, it is promoted by Water Footprint Network and AENOR, with support from CEIGRAM, the Research and Development Centre at the Technical University of Madrid and others.

    The governance details of EsAgua were further elaborated in the meeting and it was agreed that the non-executive President of the platform would be the Executive Director of the Water Footprint Network, Dr Christopher Briggs.

    2nd General Assembly of the EU-funded IMPREX project, Reading, UK, 31st May – 2nd June 2017

    Water Footprint Network’s Dr. Ashok Chapagain and Dr. Ertug Ercin attended this event, which was mainly devoted to informing the consortium about the various modelling concepts and development steps in the project. By combining expertise from both public and private sector, the IMPREX project focuses on the development of climate services for different hydrological sectors, including hydropower, flood protection, agriculture and river traffic. The goal is to substantially improve capabilities for forecasting hydrological extremes and their impacts at short to seasonal timescales.
    Water Footprint Network is leading one of the Imprex work packages, water and economy, by assessing the impacts of hydrological extremes and climate change on the European economy. Because as much as 38% of European consumers’ water footprint lies outside Europe, we are examining the risks related to the global supply and production of goods under hydrological extremes and climate change.
    Read more about our work here.
    Read more about this event here.
    Session @ BCI Global Cotton Conference, Berlin, Germany 17th – 18th May 2017
    The first Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) 2017 Global Cotton Conference created an opportunity to garner interest amongst leaders with a stake in cotton in mainstreaming sustainable supplies. The entire cotton supply chain was represented with delegates from farmer organisations, manufacturers and executives from 48 different retailers and brands, joining other stakeholders from civil society, government and private and public donors.

    Following a plenary session that provided an overview of how sustainable cotton falls into the global sustainability agenda, a series of sessions explored changes that are already happening at field level. Water Footprint Network’s Ruth Mathews, moderated a Field Level breakout session entitled “Implementing Water Stewardship in Cotton Production”. The session considered the environmental, social and economic perspectives related to using freshwater resources sustainably in cotton production. Implementation of those three ways to look at water stewardship at the farm level were discussed.
    See the presentations here.
    Read the agenda here.







Water Footprint Network News


    • Congratulations to JC-Wise and Hong Kong University for creating Hong Kong’s first Water Footprint Calculator, available on its website and as a mobile app. The calculator uses water footprint methodology and data to advance understanding of the water footprint of popular food in Hong Kong.




Partner News

    • Our project partner, IHG, was featured in an article on as an example of a company that has successfully embedded water management across different management teams. The hotel group launched its Water Stewardship programme in 2015, which it is developing in collaboration with the Water Footprint Network.





    Betsie le Roux, Michael van der Laan, Teunis Vahrmeijer, Keith L. Bristow, John G. Annandale (2017) ‘Establishing and testing a catchment water footprint framework to inform sustainable irrigation water use for an aquifer under stressScience of The Total Environment, Volumes 599–600, December 2017, Pages 1119–1129,
    This study investigates the ability of water footprints to inform water resource management at catchment-scale was investigated on the Steenkoppies Aquifer, South Africa. By using the information to derive a water balance and develop a catchment water footprint framework, it finds that this simplified method gives important insights into the hydrology of the aquifer. The results of the study indicate that current irrigation on the Steenkoppies Aquifer is unsustainable. The report advocates that the water footprint methodology can be applied to other water-stressed aquifers around the world and can inform the sustainability of catchment scale water use in order to help set and meet sustainability targets.
    X. Vergé, A. VanderZaag, W. Smith, B. Grant, R. Gordon (2017) ‘The consideration of time step in calculating grey water footprints of agricultural cropping systems’, Ecological Indicators, Volume 78, July 2017, Pages 31–36,
    Grey water is an indicator of pollution in water footprint assessments. In this study, the grey water footprint for corn and soybean are calculated on daily to yearly time steps. It finds that the grey water footprint varied significantly when calculated for different time steps and that results are, therefore, highly dependent on the time step of calculation. The greatest annual footprint occurred when calculated daily (shortest time step); results ranged from 2.7 and 0.5 × 103 m3 ha−1 for corn and soybean respectively to zero. The effect of this issue extends beyond crop production as it is exported and amplified through feed rations to affect the grey water footprint from animal production. It suggests that in order to reconcile these problems, grey water calculation pathways should be reconsidered and standardized.








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