Water Resources Management

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 35–48 | Cite as

Water footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern

Original Article

Abstract

The water footprint shows the extent of water use in relation to consumption of people. The water footprint of a country is defined as the volume of water needed for the production of the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the country. The internal water footprint is the volume of water used from domestic water resources; the external water footprint is the volume of water used in other countries to produce goods and services imported and consumed by the inhabitants of the country. The study calculates the water footprint for each nation of the world for the period 1997–2001. The USA appears to have an average water footprint of 2480,m3/cap/yr, while China has an average footprint of 700,m3/cap/yr. The global average water footprint is 1240,m3/cap/yr. The four major direct factors determining the water footprint of a country are: volume of consumption (related to the gross national income); consumption pattern (e.g. high versus low meat consumption); climate (growth conditions); and agricultural practice (water use efficiency).

Keywords

Water footprint Consumption Virtual water Indicators Water use efficiency External water dependency 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allan JA (1993) Fortunately there are substitutes for water otherwise our hydro-political futures would be impossible. In: Priorities for water resources allocation and management, ODA, London, pp 13–26Google Scholar
  2. Allan JA (1994) Overall perspectives on countries and regions. In: Rogers P, Lydon P (eds) Water in the Arab World: perspectives and prognoses. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp 65–100Google Scholar
  3. Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D, Smith M (1998) Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for computing crop water requirements – FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 56, FAO, Rome, Italy, http://www.fao.org/docrep/X0490E/x0490e00.htm
  4. Chapagain AK, Hoekstra AY (2003) Virtual water flows between nations in relation to trade in livestock and livestock products. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 13, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report13.pdf
  5. Chapagain AK, Hoekstra AY, Savenije HHG (2005a) Saving water through global trade. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 17, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report17.pdf
  6. Chapagain AK, Hoekstra AY, Savenije HHG, Gautam R (2005b) The water footprint of cotton consumption. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 18, UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report18.pdf
  7. Chapagain AK, Hoekstra AY (2004) Water footprints of nations. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 16, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report16.pdf
  8. FAO (2003) AQUASTAT 2003. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, ftp://ftp.fao.org/agl/aglw/aquastat/aquastat2003.xls
  9. Gleick PH (ed) (1993) Water in crisis: A guide to the world's fresh water resources. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Haddadin MJ (2003) Exogenous water: A conduit to globalization of water resources. In: Hoekstra AY (ed) Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 12, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report12.pdfhttp://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report12.pdf
  11. Hoekstra AY, Hung PQ (2002) Virtual water trade: A quantification of virtual water flows between nations in relation to international crop trade. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 11, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands, http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Report11.pdf
  12. Hoekstra AY, Hung PQ (2005) Globalisation of water resources: International virtual water flows in relation to crop trade. Global Environmental Change 15(1):45–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ITC (2004) PC-TAS version 1997–2001 in HS or SITC, CD-ROM. International Trade Centre, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  14. Rees WE (1992) Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity: what urban economics leaves out. Environ Urban 4(2):121–130Google Scholar
  15. Shiklomanov IA (2000) Appraisal and assessment of world water resources. Water International 25(1):11–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wackernagel M, Onisto L, Linares AC, Falfan ISL, Garcia JM, Guerrero IS, Guerrero MGS (1997) Ecological footprints of nations: How much nature do they use? How much nature do they have?. Centre for Sustainability Studies, Universidad Anahuac de Xalapa, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  17. Wackernagel M, Rees W (1996) Our ecological footprint: Reducing human impact on the Earth. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, CanadaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.UNESCO-IHEDelftThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations