Water use Water use can mean the amount of water used for a given task or for the

production of a given quantity of some product or crop. The term "water footprint" is often used to refer to the amount of water used by an individual, community, business, or nation. World water use has been growing rapidly in the last hundred years (see graph from New Scientist article[1]). From 1900 to 2000, water use for agriculture went from about 500 to 2,500 cubic kilometers per year, while total use rose from around 600 to more than 3,000 cubic kilometres per year. Agriculture uses 70% of water resources.[2]

Water footprint The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business. Water use is measured in water volume consumed (evaporated) and/or polluted per unit of time. A water footprint can be calculated for any well-defined group of consumers (e.g., an individual, family, village, city, province, state or nation) or producers (e.g., a public organization, private enterprise or economic sector). The water footprint is a geographically explicit indicator, not only showing volumes of water use and pollution, but also the locations.[3] However, the water

footprint does not provide information on how the embedded water negatively or positively affects local water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods. History The water footprint concept was introduced in 2002 by A.Y. Hoekstra from UNESCO-IHE as an alternative indicator of water use.[4] The concept was refined and accounting methods were established with a series of publications from two lead authors A.K. Chapagain and A.Y. Hoekstra from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, now at WWF-UK and University of Twente respectively. The most elaborate publications on how to estimate water footprints are a 2004 report on

the "Water footprint of nations" from UNESCO-IHE [5] and the 2008 book Globalization of Water.[6] Cooperation between global leading institutions in the field has led to the establishment of the Water Footprint Network in 2008 that aims to coordinate efforts to further develop and disseminate knowledge on water footprint concepts, methods and tools. Components A water footprint consists of three components: blue, green, and grey. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater that evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or

community. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture). The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards. Calculation Since 2009 there is a global calculation standard for the water footprint,[7] maintained by the Water Footprint Network, an international

network of governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations and U.N. bodies.

Individuals The water footprint of an individual refers to the sum of his or her direct and indirect freshwater use. The direct water use is the water used at home, while the indirect water use relates to the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed. The average global water footprint of an individual is 1,385 m3 per year.The average consumer in the United States has a water footprint of 2,842 m3 per year, while the average resident in China and India has a

water footprint of 1,071 and 1,089 m3 per year, respectively.[8] [9] The average Finnish water footprint is 1,730 m³ water per person per year[10], while the water footprint of the U.K. is 1,695 m³ water/person/year.[11] An individual’s daily diet of fruits, vegetables and grains requires more than 1,500 litres (396.3 US gal) of water, as compared to 3,400 litres (898.2 US gal) needed for a daily diet rich in animal protein.[2] Research by the Cranfield University calculated the amount of water required to produce various common foods in the United Kingdom:[12] Businesses The water footprint of a business, the 'corporate water footprint', is defined

as the total volume of freshwater that is used directly or indirectly to run and support a business. It is the total volume of water use to be associated with the use of the business outputs. The water footprint of a business consists of water used for producing/manufacturing or for supporting activities and the indirect water use in the producer’s supply chain. Water Credit for conserving water: Nagpur based innovator Shripad Vaidya's idea of giving water credit's, much like carbon credits, to those who save and conserve water is gaining ground. These water credits can be marketed or sold to those in need of surplus water for social, agricultural or industrial ventures. Reference: Limca Book of Records 2012 page 278

Nations The water footprint of a nation is the water used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the nation. The internal water footprint is the appropriation of domestic water resources; the external water footprint is the appropriation of water resources in other countries. About 65% of Japan's total water footprint comes from outside the country; about 7% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China.[13] Criticism The application and interpretation of water footprints may sometimes be used to promote industrial activities that lead to facile criticism of certain products. For example, the 140 litres

required for coffee production for one cup [14] might be of no harm to water resources if its cultivation occurs mainly in humid areas, but could be damaging in more arid regions. Other factors such as hydrology, climate, geology, topography, population and demographics should also be taken into account. Nevertheless, high water footprint calculations do suggest that environmental concern may be appropriate. According to Dennis Wichelns of the International Water Management Institute: Although one goal of virtual water analysis is to describe opportunities for improving water security, there is almost no mention of the potential impacts of the prescriptions arising from that

analysis on farm households in industrialized or developing countries. It is essential to consider more carefully the inherent flaws in the virtual water and water footprint perspectives, particularly when seeking guidance regarding policy decisions.[15] The use of the term "footprint" can also confuse people familiar with the notion of a carbon footprint, because the water footprint concept includes sums of water quantities without necessarily evaluating related impacts. This is in contrast to the carbon footprint, where carbon emissions are not simply summarized but normalized by CO2 emissions, which are globally identical, to account for the environmental harm. The difference is due to the

somewhat more complex nature of water; while involved in the global hydrological cycle, it is expressed in conditions both local and regional through various forms like river basins, watersheds, on down to groundwater (as part of larger aquifer systems).

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