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Water Footprinting: How to Address Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment?

Author

Listed:
  • Markus Berger

    () (Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, Office Z1, Strasse des 17, Juni 135, 10437 Berlin, Germany)

  • Matthias Finkbeiner

    () (Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, Office Z1, Strasse des 17, Juni 135, 10437 Berlin, Germany)

Abstract

As freshwater is a vital yet often scarce resource, the life cycle assessment community has put great efforts in method development to properly address water use. The International Organization for Standardization has recently even launched a project aiming at creating an international standard for ‘water footprinting’. This paper provides an overview of a broad range of methods developed to enable accounting and impact assessment of water use. The critical review revealed that methodological scopes differ regarding types of water use accounted for, inclusion of local water scarcity, as well as differentiation between watercourses and quality aspects. As the application of the most advanced methods requires high resolution inventory data, the trade-off between ‘precision’ and ‘applicability’ needs to be addressed in future studies and in the new international standard.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Berger & Matthias Finkbeiner, 2010. "Water Footprinting: How to Address Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-26, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:919-944:d:7789
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vanessa Bach & Markus Berger & Natalia Finogenova & Matthias Finkbeiner, 2017. "Assessing the Availability of Terrestrial Biotic Materials in Product Systems (BIRD)," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-35, January.
    2. Jun Nakatani & Tamon Maruyama & Kosuke Fukuchi & Yuichi Moriguchi, 2015. "A Practical Approach to Screening Potential Environmental Hotspots of Different Impact Categories in Supply Chains," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-15, August.
    3. Manab Das & Debashish Goswami & Anshuman & Alok Adholeya, 2014. "Land degradation, water scarcity and sustainability," Chapters,in: Handbook on Food, chapter 17, pages 443-461 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1562-:d:146296 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Stephanie D. Maier & Tabea Beck & Javier Francisco Vallejo & Rafael Horn & Jan-Hendrik Söhlemann & Trung Thanh Nguyen, 2016. "Methodological Approach for the Sustainability Assessment of Development Cooperation Projects for Built Innovations Based on the SDGs and Life Cycle Thinking," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-26, October.
    6. Willa Paterson & Richard Rushforth & Benjamin L. Ruddell & Megan Konar & Ikechukwu C. Ahams & Jorge Gironás & Ana Mijic & Alfonso Mejia, 2015. "Water Footprint of Cities: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-30, June.
    7. Ling-Chin, J. & Heidrich, O. & Roskilly, A.P., 2016. "Life cycle assessment (LCA) – from analysing methodology development to introducing an LCA framework for marine photovoltaic (PV) systems," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 352-378.
    8. 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, vol. 110(C), pages 30-40.
    9. repec:gam:jagris:v:7:y:2017:i:12:p:99-:d:121507 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Madhu Sachidananda & D. Patrick Webb & Shahin Rahimifard, 2016. "A Concept of Water Usage Efficiency to Support Water Reduction in Manufacturing Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-15, November.
    11. Matthias Finkbeiner & Erwin M. Schau & Annekatrin Lehmann & Marzia Traverso, 2010. "Towards Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(10), pages 1-14, October.
    12. Owusu-Sekyere, Enoch & Scheepers, Morné Erwin & Jordaan, Henry, 2017. "Economic Water Productivities Along the Dairy Value Chain in South Africa: Implications for Sustainable and Economically Efficient Water-use Policies in the Dairy Industry," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 22-28.
    13. Ángel de Miguel & Malaak Kallache & Eloy García-Calvo, 2015. "The Water Footprint of Agriculture in Duero River Basin," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-22, May.
    14. Emanuele Bonamente & Flavio Scrucca & Francesco Asdrubali & Franco Cotana & Andrea Presciutti, 2015. "The Water Footprint of the Wine Industry: Implementation of an Assessment Methodology and Application to a Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-19, September.
    15. Vázquez-Rowe, Ian & Reyna, Janet L. & García-Torres, Samy & Kahhat, Ramzy, 2015. "Is climate change-centrism an optimal policy making strategy to set national electricity mixes?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 108-116.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    water use; life cycle assessment; water footprint;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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