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Water Footprint and Consumer Products

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Environmental Water Footprints

Abstract

Water footprints of specific crops, animal, food products and forest products may typically be better captured by the study of the chains of these products with techniques under frameworks such as life cycle assessment (LCA), given the great heterogeneity in water intensities among most of these categories. Apart from these type of studies, with process analysis/specific supply chains view, also studies on Water Footprinting have been developed making use of more top-down techniques and analyses, such as extended environmental input-output (IO) models. In this regard, we examine these results making use of global multiregional IO (MRIO) databases such as World Input-Output Database (WIOD) and EXIOBASE. With them we can quantify the water footprints (WFs) of production and WFs of consumption of all (somehow aggregated) consumer products for different years in the period of 1995–2009. Results can be disaggregated by sectors and consumption categories, and compared with those results being obtained from the process analysis types of techniques. This lead us to characterize the appropriateness of each methods depending on the types of consumer products, considering also the type of supply chains up to the consumers, the boundary conditions established, etc. In particular MRIOs may suffer from aggregation errors, but also in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world they may have a role for WFs, especially to get industrial and even services ones, particularly for the computations of blue and grey water. Also avenues for integration of methods and open and future lines of research are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The water footprint was defined as an indicator of freshwater uses which examines both direct and indirect uses of water by a producer or consumer. Water footprints of an individual, business or community are defined as the total volumes of freshwater which are used to produce the goods and services consumed by them (an individual, business or community).

  2. 2.

    WIOD (Dietzenbacher et al. 2013), EXIOBASE (Tukker et al. 2009, 2013; Wood et al. 2015), EORA (Lenzen et al. 2013; Aldaya et al. 2010), OECD (OECD 2016), GTAP (Narayanan et al. 2012, 2015), see also the Special Issue (Tukker and Dietzenbacher 2013).

  3. 3.

    Available at the website (www.wiod.org) there is a download link and a detailed description of the database.

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Correspondence to Ignacio Cazcarro .

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Appendix

Appendix

See Table A1.

Table A1 Codes and names of regions in WIOD used in this chapter

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Cazcarro, I., Arto, I. (2019). Water Footprint and Consumer Products. In: Muthu, S. (eds) Environmental Water Footprints. Environmental Footprints and Eco-design of Products and Processes. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2508-3_3

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