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Sustainability of national consumption from a water resources perspective: The case study for France


  • Ercin, A. Ertug
  • Mekonnen, Mesfin M.
  • Hoekstra, Arjen Y.


It has become increasingly evident that local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. It has been estimated that 20% of the water consumption and pollution in the world relates to the production of export goods. This study analyzes how French water resources are allocated over various purposes, and examines impacts of French production in local water resources. In addition, it analyzes the water dependency of French consumption and the sustainability of imports. The basins of the Loire, Seine, Garonne, and Escaut have been identified as priority basins where maize and industrial production are the dominant factors for the blue water scarcity. About 47% of the water footprint of French consumption is related to imported agricultural products. Cotton, sugar cane and rice are the three major crops that are identified as critical products in a number of severely water-scarce river basins: The basins of the Aral Sea and the Indus, Ganges, Guadalquivir, Guadiana, Tigris & Euphrates, Ebro, Mississippi and Murray rivers. The study shows that the analysis of the external water footprint of a nation is necessary to get a complete picture of the relation between national consumption and the use of water resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Ercin, A. Ertug & Mekonnen, Mesfin M. & Hoekstra, Arjen Y., 2013. "Sustainability of national consumption from a water resources perspective: The case study for France," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 133-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:88:y:2013:i:c:p:133-147
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.01.015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cai, Ximing & McKinney, Daene C. & Rosegrant, Mark W., 2003. "Sustainability analysis for irrigation water management in the Aral Sea region," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 1043-1066, June.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:waterr:v:32:y:2018:i:11:d:10.1007_s11269-018-2007-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:agiwat:v:208:y:2018:i:c:p:204-213 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Xueting Zhao & Randall W. Jackson, 2016. "China’s Inter-Regional Trade of Virtual Water — A Multi-Regional Input–Output Table Based Analysis," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(02), pages 1-28, June.
    4. Xueting Zhao, 2014. "China's Inter-regional Trade of Virtual Water: a Multi-regional Input-output Modeling," Working Papers Working Paper 2014-04, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    5. Rohman, Ibrahim Kholilul & Bohlin, Erik, 2014. "Decomposition analysis of the telecommunications sector in Indonesia: What does the cellular era shed light on?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 248-263.
    6. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:17-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zhang, Chao & Anadon, Laura Diaz, 2014. "A multi-regional input–output analysis of domestic virtual water trade and provincial water footprint in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 159-172.
    8. repec:spr:waterr:v:31:y:2017:i:10:d:10.1007_s11269-017-1618-5 is not listed on IDEAS


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