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The water needed for Italians to eat pasta and pizza

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  • Aldaya, M.M.
  • Hoekstra, A.Y.

Abstract

Water resources use in agriculture is generally quantified in relation to the harvest. In contrast, this paper takes a consumer perspective by assessing water use in relation to the final consumer product. The paper analyses the water use related to two products that are typical to Italian consumers: pasta and pizza margherita. We use the water footprint concept as a tool to quantify and localise this water use. The water footprint of a product is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured over the various steps of the production chain. We find that the water footprint of dry pasta made in Italy amounts to 1924Â l of water per kilogram of pasta. The water footprint of a 725Â g pizza margherita is 1216Â l of water. The impacts of the water footprints of pasta and pizza depend on the vulnerability of the water systems where the footprints are located. The impact of the water footprint of pasta is most severe in Puglia and Sicily, where groundwater overexploitation for durum wheat irrigation is common. The impact of the water footprint of pizza is more diverse. It is concentrated in the first step of the supply chain of tomato puree and mozzarella, i.e. in the cultivation of tomatoes and the feed crops of dairy cows. The bread wheat used for the pizza base does not have large impacts. The water footprint impact of the tomato puree on the pizza is concentrated in Puglia (groundwater overexploitation and pollution related to tomato cultivation) and Emilia-Romagna (water pollution). The water footprint impact of mozzarella lies mostly in the effects of water use for producing the feed ingredients for the dairy cows. Mozzarella production further poses a potential threat to water quality, mostly in the Po valley, but this problem seems to be properly regulated, although possibly not fully controlled.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldaya, M.M. & Hoekstra, A.Y., 2010. "The water needed for Italians to eat pasta and pizza," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(6), pages 351-360, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:6:p:351-360
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smakhtin, Vladimir U. & Revenga, C. & Doll, P., 2004. "Taking into account environmental water requirements in global-scale water resources assessments," IWMI Research Reports H031758, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Chapagain, A.K. & Hoekstra, A.Y. & Savenije, H.H.G. & Gautam, R., 2006. "The water footprint of cotton consumption: An assessment of the impact of worldwide consumption of cotton products on the water resources in the cotton producing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 186-203, November.
    3. Bartolini, F. & Bazzani, G.M. & Gallerani, V. & Raggi, M. & Viaggi, D., 2007. "The impact of water and agriculture policy scenarios on irrigated farming systems in Italy: An analysis based on farm level multi-attribute linear programming models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 90-114.
    4. A. Hoekstra & A. Chapagain, 2007. "Water footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 21(1), pages 35-48, January.
    5. Chapagain, A.K. & Hoekstra, A.Y., 2007. "The water footprint of coffee and tea consumption in the Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 109-118, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dourte, Daniel R. & Fraisse, Clyde W. & Uryasev, Oxana, 2014. "WaterFootprint on AgroClimate: A dynamic, web-based tool for comparing agricultural systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 33-41.
    2. Nana, E. & Corbari, C. & Bocchiola, D., 2014. "A model for crop yield and water footprint assessment: Study of maize in the Po valley," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 139-149.
    3. Maria J. Beltrán & Esther Velázquez, 2015. "The Political Ecology of Virtual Water in Southern Spain," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 1020-1036, September.
    4. Zonderland-Thomassen, M.A. & Ledgard, S.F., 2012. "Water footprinting – A comparison of methods using New Zealand dairy farming as a case study," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 30-40.
    5. Giacomo Blasi & Angelo Caruso & Elena Viganò, 2016. "Progettazione partecipata di una mensa scolastica sostenibile mediante lo sviluppo di un Business Model Canvas," ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 18(3), pages 319-344.
    6. Bocchiola, D. & Nana, E. & Soncini, A., 2013. "Impact of climate change scenarios on crop yield and water footprint of maize in the Po valley of Italy," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 50-61.
    7. María Jesús Beltrán & Esther Velázquez, 2011. "Del metabolismo social al metabolismo hídrico," Documentos de Trabajo de la Asociación de Economía Ecológica en España 01_2011, Asociación de Economía Ecológica en España.
    8. Ababaei, Behnam & Ramezani Etedali, Hadi, 2017. "Water footprint assessment of main cereals in Iran," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 401-411.

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