Water Footprint Symposium: where next for water footprint and water assessment methodology?

  • Martin R. Tillotson
  • Junguo Liu
  • Dabo Guan
  • Pute Wu
  • Xu Zhao
  • Guoping Zhang
  • Stephan Pfister
  • Markus Pahlow


Recognizing the need for a comprehensive review of the tools and metrics for the quantification and assessment of water footprints, and allowing for the opportunity for open discussion on the challenges and future of water footprinting methodology, an international symposium on water footprint was organized. The Water Footprint Symposium was held in December 2013 at the University of Leeds, UK. In particular, four areas were highlighted for discussion: water footprint and agriculture, quantification of water footprint, industrial water footprint, and from theory to practice. Discussion was organized to focus on the “prioritization of water footprint research & applications to practical sectors”. The concept of water footprinting has helped to better communicate water management and assessment among different research and user communities. Significant research progress has been made in the relations between water footprint and agriculture, quantification of water footprint, industrial water footprint, and the transition from theory to practice. Future water footprint research needs to further enhance assessment accuracy, improve sustainability assessment methodology, develop databases, address uncertainties, and prioritize application by government and in practical sectors. More information on the symposium can be found on the water@leeds website:


Life Cycle Assessment Water Footprint Virtual Water Heihe River Basin Blue Water 
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We are grateful to financial support from the International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China (2012DFA91530); the Natural Environment Research Council, UK; the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41161140353); the 1st Youth Excellent Talents Program of the Organization Department of the Central Committee; and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (TD-JC-2013-2). We also thank the following colleagues for participating in the symposium, giving presentations, and participating in the following discussion: Tony Allan (King’s College London), Jon Lovett (University of Leeds), Bruce Lankford (University of East Anglia), Chris Perry (independent consultant), Keith Richards (University of Cambridge), Ana Serrano and Rosa Duarte (University of Zaragoza), Judith Thornton (University of Leeds), Justin Abbott (ARUP), Jean-Yves Cherruault (Sustain), Hugh Fell (Water Value), Peter Easton (Easton Consult, on behalf of the European Water Partnership, EWP), and Yufeng Zou (Northwest A&F University).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Tillotson
    • 1
  • Junguo Liu
    • 2
    • 3
    • 9
  • Dabo Guan
    • 4
  • Pute Wu
    • 5
  • Xu Zhao
    • 2
  • Guoping Zhang
    • 6
  • Stephan Pfister
    • 7
  • Markus Pahlow
    • 8
  1. 1.water@leeds, School of Civil EngineeringUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.School of Nature ConservationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Ecosystems Services & Management ProgramInternational Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisLaxenburgAustria
  4. 4.water@leeds, School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  5. 5.Northwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  6. 6.Water Footprint NetworkEnschedeThe Netherlands
  7. 7.ETH Zurich, Institute of Environmental EngineeringZurichSwitzerland
  8. 8.Department of Water Engineering and ManagementUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  9. 9.water@leeds, Cheney Senior FellowUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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