We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
The Water Footprint of Humanity
News

The Water Footprint of Humanity

The Water Footprint of Humanity
News

The Water Footprint of Humanity

Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "The Water Footprint of Humanity"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Abstract
This study quantifies and maps the water footprint (WF) of humanity at a high spatial resolution. It reports on consumptive use of rainwater (green WF) and ground and surface water (blue WF) and volumes of water polluted (gray WF). Water footprints are estimated per nation from both a production and consumption perspective. International virtual water flows are estimated based on trade in agricultural and industrial commodities. The global annual average WF in the period 1996-2005 was 9,087 Gm(3)/y (74% green, 11% blue, 15% gray). Agricultural production contributes 92%. About one-fifth of the global WF relates to production for export. The total volume of international virtual water flows related to trade in agricultural and industrial products was 2,320 Gm(3)/y (68% green, 13% blue, 19% gray). The WF of the global average consumer was 1,385 m(3)/y. The average consumer in the United States has a WF of 2,842 m(3)/y, whereas the average citizens in China and India have WFs of 1,071 and 1,089 m(3)/y, respectively. Consumption of cereal products gives the largest contribution to the WF of the average consumer (27%), followed by meat (22%) and milk products (7%). The volume and pattern of consumption and the WF per ton of product of the products consumed are the main factors determining the WF of a consumer. The study illustrates the global dimension of water consumption and pollution by showing that several countries heavily rely on foreign water resources and that many countries have significant impacts on water consumption and pollution elsewhere.

The article is published online in the Proceedings of National Academy Sciences and is free to access.

Advertisement