The water footprint and environmental impact
The water needs for life are endless. Water is one of the most important resources for the survival of living beings, not only as a basic good, but also as a raw material or auxiliary element to produce many goods and services. What impact does water use have and how to control it? The concept of “Water Footprint” responds to this and other questions about the sustainability of water use.
Table of Contents
What is the water footprint?
It is the environmental indicator that defines the total volume of fresh water used to produce the goods and services that we usually consume (as an individual, community, company or country).
The term was born in 2002 and since then we have been working from different areas to communicate the relevance of this concept, which offers us real information on the use and consumption of water. It is a very valuable indicator that brings to the table the
human impact on the planet’s water resources, which are increasingly scarce.
To obtain the value corresponding to the water footprint (HH) we must measure the volume of water used in the manufacture, transport and supply of a product. It is a geographical indicator since it shows the water consumed and contaminated in the place where the production takes place.
Its typology depends on the origin of the water.
Types of HH indicators:
But what volume of water do we use in different processes?
Water consumption in the world is distributed as follows: 70% in agricultural and livestock production, 20% in industrial production and 10% in the service sector and the domestic sphere. If we talk about the distribution by country, for example, in Spain we have an average domestic consumption of 136 liters of water per day per person, while Norway reaches 200 liters. According to the WHO, 100 liters a day is the ideal consumption figure for a person a day to satisfy their domestic needs at all levels.
Now, if we talk about the complete water footprint, the figures are more striking. According to Aquae Foundation the world ranking of HH is led by Mongolia with 10,000 liters per person per day, our country occupying eighth place with 6,700 liters, just below countries such as Portugal, Mauritania or the USA.
These surprising figures make us reconsider the fact that water consumption is skyrocketing because to make that jeans that we wear or the notebook in which we write, significant volumes of water are used that make the figures skyrocket.
In this video you will be able to obtain surprising information about the role of water in the production and consumption processes.
Water, a finite good
These data once again underline the problem of water scarcity. It is estimated that in 2050 more than half of the world’s population will not be able to meet its water needs, not only due to a decrease in resources but also due to the contamination of many of them. This fact is produced by three main factors:
- Increasing population worldwide
- Climate change
- Increased pressure on water resources
Knowing the water footprint data helps us to take action and combat these factors. There are various measures that we can implement at a particular level to combat the increase in HH, such as:
- Saving water consumption as much as possible in your day to day: showering instead of bathing, closing taps when we brush our teeth or using ECO washing programs in our appliances (always choosing the ones with maximum energy efficiency)
- Responsible consumption at a general level. Not just water, but any product
- Putting the rule of the three Rs into practice: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Everything has a second life, it is easy to give it to them.
- Reduce the use of the car, as well as heating and air conditioning.
- Increasing the consumption of local shops and the choice of sustainable products in our day to day.