Analysis of water use impact assessment methods (part B): applicability for water footprinting and decision making with a laundry case study
- 1.2k Downloads
The integration of different water impact assessment methods within a water footprinting concept is still ongoing, and a limited number of case studies have been published presenting a comprehensive study of all water-related impacts. Although industries are increasingly interested in assessing their water footprint beyond a simple inventory assessment, they often lack guidance regarding the applicability and interpretation of the different methods available. This paper aims to illustrate how different water-related methods can be applied within a water footprint study of a laundry detergent and discuss their applicability.
The concept of water footprinting, as defined by the recently published ISO Standard (ISO 2014), is illustrated through the case study of a load of laundry using water availability and water degradation impact categories. At the midpoint, it covers scarcity, availability, and pollution indicators such as eutrophication, acidification, human, and eco-toxicity. At the endpoint, impacts on human health and ecosystems are covered for water deprivation and degradation. Sensitivity analyses are performed on the most sensitive modeling choices identified in part A of this paper.
Results and discussion
The applicability of the different methodologies and their interpretation within a water footprint concept for decision making is presented. The discussion covers general applicability issues such as inventory flow definition, data availability, regionalization, and inclusion of wastewater treatment systems. Method-specific discussion covers the use of interim ecotoxicity factors, the interaction of scarcity and availability assessments and the limits of such methods, and the geographic coverage and availability of impact assessment methods. Lastly, possible double counting, databases, software, data quality, and integration of a water footprint within a life cycle assessment (LCA) are discussed.
This study has shown that water footprinting as proposed in the ISO standard can be applied to a laundry detergent product but with caveats. The science and the data availability are rapidly evolving, but the results obtained with present methods enable companies to map where in the life cycle and in the world impacts might occur.
KeywordsWater availability Water degradation Water footprint Water scarcity Water use impacts
The authors would like to thank Anna Kounina for her contribution in the original work of the case study and Samuel Vionnet for his support on the case study. We acknowledge the financial support of the industrial partners in the International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment (a research unit of CIRAIG): Arcelor Mittal, Bombardier, le Mouvement Desjardins, Hydro-Québec, LVMH, Michelin, Nestlé, RECYC-QUÉBEC, RONA, SAQ, Solvay, Total, Umicore, and Veolia Environnement.
- Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (2000) Australian and New Zealand guidelines for fresh and marine water qualityGoogle Scholar
- Bayart J-B, Worbe S, Grimaud J, Aoustin E (2014) The Water Impact Index: a simplified single-indicator approach for water footprinting. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19(6):1336–1344Google Scholar
- Boulay A-M, Motoshita M, Pfister S, Bayart J-B, Franceschini H, Muñoz I, Bulle C, Margni M (2015) Water use impact assessment methods (Part A): Methodological and quantitative comparison of scarcity and human health impacts models. Int J Life Cycle Assess 20(1):139–160Google Scholar
- Bulle C, Margni M, Humbert S, Rosenbaum RK, Jolliet O (2014) Impact World +. http://www.impactworldplus.org/en/
- Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (2007) Canadian Environmental Quality GuidelinesGoogle Scholar
- CIRAIG (2012a) Water Tool. http://www.ciraig.org/fr/watertool.php
- CIRAIG (2012b) Impacts from water use in LCA—Google Earth Layers. http://www.ciraig.org/fr/wateruseimpacts.php
- Department of Water Affairs Forestry (2011) South African Water Quality Guidelines. Volume 7Google Scholar
- Detergent Ingredients Database (2007) DID list 2007Google Scholar
- Doka G (2009) Life cycle inventories of waste treatment services. In: Final report ecoinvent v2.1 no. 13. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- European Parliament (2000) Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policyGoogle Scholar
- Eurostat (2013) Population connected to wastewater collection and treatment systemsGoogle Scholar
- Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N (2004) Ecoinvent: overview and methodology. Ecoinvent Center, p 75Google Scholar
- Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N (2007) Ecoinvent: overview and methodology. vol. ecoinvent. Ecoinvent CenterGoogle Scholar
- Frischknecht R, Steiner R, Braunschweig A, Egli N, Hildesheimer G (2008) Swiss ecological scarcity method: the new version 2006Google Scholar
- Goedkoop M, Heijungs R, Huijbregts M, De Schryver A, Struijs J, van Zelm R (2012) ReCiPe 2008—a life cycle impact assessment method which comprises harmonised category indicators at the midpoint and the endpoint level. RIVM reportGoogle Scholar
- Growing Blue (2012) Water Impact Index tool. http://growingblue.com/footprint-tools/water-impact-index/
- Hoekstra AY, Chapagain AK, Aldaya MM, Mekonnen MM (2011) The water footprint assessment manual. Setting the global standard. Earthscan Ltd, London. ISBN 978-1-84971-279-8Google Scholar
- ISO 14046 (2014) Water footprint—principles, requirements and guidelinesGoogle Scholar
- Kounina A, Margni M, Bayart J-B, Boulay A-M, Berger M, Bulle C, Frischknecht R, Koehler A, Milà i Canals L, Motoshita M, Núñez M, Peters G, Pfister S, Ridoutt B, van Zelm R, Verones F, Humbert S (2013) Review of methods addressing freshwater use in life cycle inventory and impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18:707–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- LC-Impact (2013) [Online]. Available: www.lc-impact.eu
- Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China (2002) Environmental quality standard for surface waterGoogle Scholar
- Motoshita M, Itsubo N, Inaba A (2010a) Damage assessment of water scarcity for agricultural use 1. In: Proceedings of 9th international conference on EcoBalance, pp 3–6Google Scholar
- Oceanographic Commission UNESCO’s Intergovernmental (IOC) (2008) Global NEWS DatasetsGoogle Scholar
- Quantis (2012) Quantis Water Database. http://www.quantis-intl.com/microsites/waterdatabase.php-contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rosenbaum R, Bachmann T, Gold L, Huijbregts M, Jolliet O, Juraske R, Koehler A, Larsen H, MacLeod M, Margni M, McKone T, Payet J, Schuhmacher M, van de Meent D, Hauschild M (2008) USEtox—the UNEP-SETAC toxicity model: recommended characterisation factors for human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity in life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(7):532–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tox-Train Project (2012) www.toxtrain.eu
- Water Footprint Network (2011) WaterStat. Enschede, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
- UNEP Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) Water Programme (2009) GEMStatGoogle Scholar
- www.usetox.org (2014) USEtox