Operationalisation and application of water supply mix (WSmix) at worldwide scale: how does WSmix influence the environmental profile of water supply for different users?
A worldwide-regionalized water supply mix (WSmix) has been developed for use in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies. The WSmix is the combination of water sources and water technologies to meet a water user need at a specific time (season, month) and location. A global database has been computed to collect information on water sources and users at country and river basin scales. However, its application to LCA case studies at different locations and for different users has not yet been fully tested and analysed. The aim of this study is to operationalise WSmix for application in LCA and to test the added value and usability of WSmix by applying it worldwide to two different systems, a service and a global product, considering different climatic and socio-economic conditions.
The WSmix is applied to two main water users, the results are analysed, and the variability of the WSmix for 91 countries with different socio-economic conditions is discussed. Some examples of the variability of the water sources mix (WOmix) and the temporal variation at river basin scale are presented.
Results and discussion
The results show that the WSmix has a great influence on the environmental profile of water supply for different users considering different climatic and socio-economic conditions. Moreover, the interdependence between water and energy (i.e. water-energy nexus) is clearly established, which reinforces the importance to link a regionalized WSmix with national/regionalized electricity mix.
In conclusion, the WSmix has been operationalised and applied in LCI databases. Its added value and usability has been demonstrated by applying it at a worldwide scale for two different users. Methodological developments are still required to increase its spatiotemporal resolution, and LCIA methods need to be improved to better consider its different components (including water sources).
KeywordsLife cycle assessment WSmix application Water footprint Water-energy nexus Water users Water sources
Area of protection
Life cycle assessment
Life cycle inventory
Life cycle impact assessment
Water source (i.e. origin) mix
Water supply mix
Gross domestic product
The authors acknowledge ANR, the Occitanie Region, ONEMA, its industrial partners (BRL, SCP, SUEZ, VINADEIS, Compagnie Fruitière), and IMT Mines Alès for the financial support of the Industrial Chair for Environmental and Social Sustainability Assessment “ELSA-PACT” (grant no. 13-CHIN-0005-01). The authors are members of the ELSA research group (Environmental Life Cycle and Sustainability Assessment, http://www.elsa-lca.org/) and thank all ELSA members for their advice.
- Agri-footprint (2018) Agri-footprint LCA database [WWW Document]Google Scholar
- Boulay A-M, Bare J, Benini L, Berger M, Lathuillière MJ, Manzardo A, Margni M, Motoshita M, Núñez M, Pastor AV, Ridoutt B, Oki T, Worbe S, Pfister S (2017) The WULCA consensus characterization model for water scarcity footprints: assessing impacts of water consumption based on available water remaining (AWARE). Int J Life Cycle Assess 23(368):378. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1333-8 Google Scholar
- Duero CHG de E (2012) Proyecto de plan hidrológico de cuenca, SpainGoogle Scholar
- EC-JRC (2011) ILCD handbook: recommendations for life cycle impact assessment in the European context. publications Office of the European Union, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
- FAO (2016) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) [WWW document]. Aquatat Website. URL http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/didyouknow/index2.stm(accessed 2.1.19)
- FAO (2017) Chapter V Hay crops. Cereals and grasses [WWW Document]. URL http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/x7660e/x7660e09.htm(accessed 1.28.18)
- Hanafiah MM, Xenopoulos MA, Pfister S, Leuven RSEW, Huijbregts MAJ (2013) Characterization factors for water consumption based on freshwater fish species extinction. EU FP7 Proj. LC-IMPACT Google Scholar
- Huijbregts MAJ, Steinmann ZJ, Elshout PMF, Stam G, Verones F, Vieira MDM, Hollander A, Zijp M, van Zelm R (2016) ReCiPe 2016: a harmonized life cycle impact assessment method at midpoint and endpoint level - report 1: Characterization. Natl Inst Public Heal Environ:194Google Scholar
- ISO (2014) ISO 14046:2014 (E) Environmental management. Water footprint - principles, requirements and guidelinesGoogle Scholar
- Köppen-Geiger (2017) World maps of Köppen-Geiger climate classification [WWW Document]. URL http://koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at/shifts.htm (accessed 10.23.17)
- Leão S, Roux P, Loiseau E, Junqua G, Sferratore A, Penru Y, Rosenbaum RK (2019) Prospective water supply mix for LCA and resource policy support – assessment of forecasting scenarios accounting for future changes in water demand and availability. Environ Sci Technol 53:1374–1384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scherer L, Venkatesh A, Karuppiah R, Pfister S (2015) Large-scale hydrological modeling for calculating water stress indices: implications of improved spatiotemporal resolution, surface-groundwater differentiation, and uncertainty characterization. Environ Sci Technol 49:4971–4979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- UNESCO (2003) Water for people - water for life. The United Nations World Water Development Report. UNESCO, Berghahn B (ed)Google Scholar
- UN-Water (2017) The United Nations world water development report 2017. Facts and figures. Wastewater, The Untapped Resource. Perugia, ItalyGoogle Scholar
- USGS (2018) The effect of ground-water withdrawals on surface water [WWW document]. Gr. Water surf. Water a single Resour. Circ. 1139. URL https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1139/htdocs/boxc.htm (accessed 2.20.18)
- WHO (2017) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygieneGoogle Scholar
- World Bank (2017) World Bank [WWW document]. URL http://www.worldbank.org/ (accessed 8.17.17)