Water Resources Management

, Volume 27, Issue 15, pp 5223–5243 | Cite as

Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprints of Primary Crops Production in Nepal

  • Sangam Shrestha
  • Vishnu P. Pandey
  • Chawalit Chanamai
  • Debapi K. Ghosh


This study aims to estimate the green, blue and grey water footprints (WFs) of nine primary crops production in 75 districts, 5 developmental regions and 3 physiographic divisions of Nepal using local meteorological, agronomical and irrigation data at high spatial resolution. The estimates are based on the framework prescribed by the guideline of the Water Footprint Network. The green and blue WFs are calculated using a water balance model whereas the grey WF is estimated as the volume of freshwater needed to dilute nitrate pollution to an acceptable level. WF varies across different crops considered, different districts, development regions and physiographic divisions. WF of potato and wheat in Nepal is comparable to the world average; but paddy, barley and pulses have higher while sugarcane and maize have lower values compared to the world average. WFs of paddy, maize, potato and wheat are lower in Terai than the Hills and Mountains due to the accessibility of irrigation system and higher crop yield. Millet, pulses, oilseeds and barley have lower WFs and are suitable for Mountains. Similarly, sugarcane is suitable for both Terai and Mountain divisions because of its lower WF. Crops in Far Western Development Region generally have higher WFs due to the low crop productivity, and higher fertilizer use.


Nepal Primary crops Virtual water Water footprint 



The authors would like to acknowledge Center of Research for Environment Energy and Water (CREEW), Nepal for providing financial support to conduct this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sangam Shrestha
    • 1
  • Vishnu P. Pandey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Chawalit Chanamai
    • 1
  • Debapi K. Ghosh
    • 4
  1. 1.Water Engineering and Management, School of Engineering and TechnologyAsian Institute of TechnologyKlong LuangThailand
  2. 2.International Research Center for River Basin Environment (ICRE)University of YamanashiKofuJapan
  3. 3.Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM)LalitpurNepal
  4. 4.Department of Civil Environmental and Construction EngineeringUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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