Newsletter March 2017




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Executive Director’s note

I think of myself as very fortunate to join the Water Footprint Network as Executive Director at a particularly exciting time, when water related issues are getting ever higher on public and private sector agendas and when research and innovation into solutions are showing results and replication worldwide.

Over the last decade, Water Footprint Assessment has shown the valuable contribution it can make towards achieving sustainable development. It’s therefore encouraging to see that, globally, interest in the field has risen dramatically during this time and I congratulate Arjen Hoekstra and his team at the University of Twente for taking the lead amongst institutions working and publishing research in this field. Some particularly interesting papers on the growth of this research have been published recently and we will talk more about them in the ‘Publications’ section below.

It’s a great honour to become part of this global collaboration for fair and smart water use and I look forward to building more fruitful partnerships with our readers in the coming months and working together for positive change in the way fresh water is managed around the world.

Christopher Briggs, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    Seminar @ Ankara University, Turkey, 22nd March 2017 at 14:00
    Dr. Ertug Ercin, Project Manager for the Water Footprint Network, has been invited to an expert panel at a seminar on World Water Day entitled “Wastewater management under the Sustainable Development Goals”. The seminar is organised by Ankara University and the Turkish Chamber of Environmental Engineers.
    Seminar @ Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 24th March 2017 at 14:00 
    Dr. Ertug Ercin will give a seminar on how Water Footprint Assessment can support sustainable water management.
    Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW): Call for examples of approaches to water cases and solutions - Deadline 31st March 2017
    AIWW will be held in Amsterdam on 30th October - 3rd November 2017. It is inviting representatives of cities, industries, utilities and international institutions to submit examples of their approaches to water cases now e.g., how a city is tackling specific water challenges, how an industry is working to reduce its water footprint or how a region is promoting new techniques to increase agricultural yield with less water. It is also looking for examples of solutions e.g., a game-changing innovation, an in-depth analyses, a best practice or model, or a new scientific insight.
    AIWW intends 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 aims to do so by ‘matching’ each case 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.
    Water Footprint Network is helping to organise this year’s AIWW and we encourage our partners to submit examples of their water cases and their approaches to solutions.
    Find out more here.
    Sessions @ European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 23rd – 28th April 2017

    Wednesday, 26th April at 11:00–12:00: Dr. Ertug Ercin will participate in a press conference entitled “Food security: how extreme weather and other hazards affect what we drink and eat” at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2017. Details of the press conference will be live from tomorrow, 16th March here.

    Wednesday, 26th April at 13:50: Climate change consultant at the UK Met Office, Felicity Liggins, will present an abstract by Dr. Ercin and other IMPREX project partners, “Improving Predictions and Management of Hydrological Extremes (B.J.J.M. van den Hurk et al.) in a PICO session entitled Climate Services - Underpinning Science”.
    Thursday, 27th April at 13:30–15:00: Water Footprint Network and partners will convene a PICO session entitled “Hydrological Sciences and Water Footprint Assessment for monitoring and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The session aims to show how water footprinting can be used for monitoring and reaching the UN 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. Water Footprint Network’s Project Officer, Daniel Chico, will present “How a full value-chain Water Footprint Assessment can help inform decisions in corporate sustainability strategies” and “Water footprint as an indicator of agricultural productivity in African countries” during this session.
    Friday, 28th April 2017 at 09:15: Dr. Ertug Ercin will give an oral presentation on “Dependencies of Europe’s economy on water resources outside its borders and its vulnerability to weather extremes”. This will be part of a session entitled “From sub-seasonal forecasting to climate projections: predicting hydrologic extremes and servicing water managers.
    Find out more about the EGU General Assembly 2017 here.

    Session @ BCI Global Cotton Conference, Berlin, Germany 17th – 18th May 2017
    Water Footprint Network’s Chief Policy Advisor, Ruth Mathews, will lead a session entitled “Implementing Water Stewardship in Cotton Production” at the first Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) 2017 Global Cotton Conference, an event that aims 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 ways to look at water stewardship at the farm level will be discussed.
    Read the agenda here and register here.
    Session @ Stockholm World Water Week, Stockholm City Conference Centre, 27th August – 1st September 2017
    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. The date and time of this session will be published in due course.
    World Water Week has issued a call for engagement in this year’s event. Find out how you can get involved here.
    Registration will open in April 2017.




Recent Events

    UNFCCC Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action meeting (virtual), 2nd March 2017
    Ruth Mathews attended a meeting to discuss business, water and climate change with the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, launched at COP 22 last year. This was one of a series of meetings to plan the 2017 initiatives of the Partnership, which provides a clear framework for the engagement of all actors in climate action in the coming years.







Water Footprint Network News

    Water Footprint Network was invited, as a member of the Mali Platform, to provide input to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherland’s draft multi-annual Mali plan. Water Footprint Network’s Knowledge Exchange Manager, Xander de Bruine, attended a meeting at the ministry this month, which is working on a long-term plan for the Sahel Region / Mali 2018-2020.
    Water Footprint Network has been invited to contribute to the Nestlé Creating Shared Value stakeholder workshop in London at the end of this month. The workshop aims to deepen understanding of Nestlé's role in stimulating collective action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.




Partner News

    • Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is featured in a report by ISEAL and WWF entitled ‘SDGs mean business’. The report explains the measures laid out in AWS’ sustainability standards and covers its work with Serengeti Breweries Limited, which is used as an example of good practice.

    • Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra from the University of Twente gave a speech at a Public Forum on Reducing Humanity’s Water Footprint: Challenges from a Global Perspective, held at Hong Kong University today, 15th March at 14:30. He discussed how the water footprint concept offers us a global perspective and helps us understand the complex economy of water consumption, water shortages and pollution. Find out more here.
    • The Water Management group at the University of Twente in the Netherlands has a vacancy for an Assistant Professor of Water and Energy. With this new post, the group aims to further expand research into the relations between water and energy, with the view that coherent water-energy policies are key to a sustainable future, reducing both carbon and water footprints. Find out more about this opportunity here. Deadline for applications: 1st April 2017.





    Hoekstra, A., Y. (2017), Water Footprint Assessment: Evolvement of a New Research Field, was published in Water Resource Manager, DOI 10.1007/s11269-017-1618-5.

    This paper reviews the evolution of Water Footprint Assessment as a new research field over the past fifteen years and reflects on the main issues of debate. It concludes that the rapid emergence of the new field and wide uptake of the water footprint concept in society has generated substantial discussion about what the concept and the research field can offer, and what it cannot.
    A summary of water footprint research can be downloaded here.
    Zhang, Y., Huang, K., Yu, Y., Yang, B. (2017), Mapping of water footprint research: A bibliometric analysis during 2006–2015, was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 149.

    This paper presents a bibliometric analysis of the research in the field of water footprint during the period 2006–2015, with information related to countries, institutions, journals, categories, top cited publications, keywords, hot issues and research trends. It finds that research on water footprint has increased sharply over the past decade, especially in the United States, China and the Netherlands. The findings provide a better understanding of characteristics of water footprint research and serve as a useful reference for future studies.

    The cooperation network of the top 30 productive countries/territories.

    Mathioudakis. V., Gerbens-Leenes, P.W., Van der Meer, T.H., Hoekstra, A.Y. (2017), The water footprint of second-generation bioenergy: A comparison of biomass feedstocks and conversion techniques, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 148.
    This paper calculates the water footprint of ten crop residue types and a few other second-generation bioenergy feedstocks (miscanthus, eucalyptus and pine). It estimates the water footprint of energy carriers produced through different conversion techniques, using the Global Water Footprint Standard. It asserts that second-generation bio-energy from crop residues has high potential to supply energy. In terms of feedstocks for bioenergy, it finds that miscanthus and wood have large water footprints and that crop residues have relatively small water footprints. It also finds that the water footprint of pyrolysis oil is smaller than bio-ethanol for the same feedstock and that the water footprint of sugar crop residue (beet or cane) is the smallest of all crop residues.
    Ibidhi, R., Hoekstra. A.Y., Gerbens-Leenes, P. W., Chouchane, H. (2017) Water, land and carbon footprints of sheep and chicken meat produced in Tunisia under different farming systems, published in Ecological Indicators, Volume 77.
    This paper uses footprint indicators (the water, land and carbon footprint) to assess natural resources use and greenhouse gas emissions for sheep and chicken meat produced in Tunisia in different farming systems in the period 1996–2005. It finds that chicken meat has a smaller water footprint, land footprint and carbon footprint than sheep meat. For sheep meat, the agro-pastoral system using cereal crop-residues is the production system with smallest water and land footprints, but the highest carbon footprint. The pastoral system using barley has larger water and land footprints than the agro-pastoral system using barley, but a comparable carbon footprint.
    Ellison, D., Morris, C.E., Locatelli B., Sheil, D., Cohen, J., Murdiyarso, D., Gutierrez, V., van Noordwijk, M., Creed, I. F., Pokorny, J., Gaveau, D., Spracklen, D. V., Bargués Tobella, A., Ilstedt, U., Teuling, A.J., Gebrehiwot, S. G., Sands, D.C., Muys, B., Verbist, B., Springgay, E., Sugandi, Y., Sullivan, C.A., (2017) Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world, published in Global Environmental Change, Volume 43.

    This paper reviews the advantages of forests highlighted in the literature on forest, water and energy cycle interactions. It asserts that forest, water and energy cycle interactions provide the foundation for achieving forest-based adaptation and mitigation goals. Forests can be used, in particular, to mitigate problems related to water scarcity and global warming. It concludes that, in addition to up- and downstream relationships, policy frameworks need to consider the transboundary nature of up- and downwind forest, water and energy cycle interactions. Alongside the local level, regional and continental policy-making frameworks are necessary for adequate consideration of transboundary forest, water and energy cycle interactions.

    Effects of forests on water and climate at local, regional and continental scales through change in water and energy cycles.








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