Water Footprint Calculator
Sure, water is used for drinking, cooking and cleaning, but water use skyrockets with product production such as food, paper, and clothing. The Water Footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of fresh water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. Since every product has a Water Footprint, this information is important to both consumers who purchase those products and businesses that produce, process, trade or sell them in some stage of their supply chain.
The availability of fresh water is becoming more limited as demand grows and the Water Footprint exceeds sustainable levels in some areas while being unequally distributed in others. Many places around the world suffer from water pollution, and depletion from rivers running dry and dropping lake and groundwater levels. Information about our Water Footprints will help us understand how we can sustain this limited resource.
Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept and scientific director of the Water Footprint Network, says, “The interest in the Water Footprint is rooted in the recognition that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption, and that issues like water shortages and pollution can be better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole.”
Many countries, he says, have significantly externalized their water footprint importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This, he explains, puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking.
“Not only governments, but also consumers, businesses and civil society communities can play a role in achieving a better management of water resources,” says Hoekstra.