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Title: Quantifying the human impact on water resources: A critical review of the water footprint concept
Authors: Chenoweth, Jonathan L. 
Hadjikakou, Michalis 
Zoumides, Christos 
Major Field of Science: Natural Sciences
Field Category: Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Water resource;Water footprint
Issue Date: 24-Jun-2014
Source: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2014, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 2325-2342
Volume: 18
Issue: 6
Start page: 2325
End page: 2342
Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 
Abstract: The water footprint is a consumption-based indicator of water use, referring to the total volume of freshwater used directly and indirectly by a nation or a company, or in the provision of a product or service. Despite widespread enthusiasm for the development and use of water footprints, some concerns have been raised about the concept and its usefulness. A variety of methodologies have been developed for water footprinting which differ with respect to how they deal with different forms of water use. The result is water footprint estimates which vary dramatically, often creating confusion. Despite these methodological qualms, the concept has had notable success in raising awareness about water use in agricultural and industrial supply chains, by providing a previously unavailable and (seemingly) simple numerical indicator of water use. Nevertheless, and even though a range of uses have already been suggested for water footprinting, its policy value remains unclear. Unlike the carbon footprint which provides a universal measure of human impact on the atmosphere's limited absorptive capacity, the water footprint in its conventional form solely quantifies a single production input without any accounting of the impacts of use, which vary spatially and temporally. Following an extensive review of the literature related to water footprints, this paper critically examines the present uses of the concept, focusing on its current strengths, shortcomings and promising research avenues to advance it.
ISSN: 1607-7938
DOI: 10.5194/hess-18-2325-2014
Rights: © Copernicus
Type: Article
Affiliation : University of Surrey 
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia 
Cyprus University of Technology 
Appears in Collections:Άρθρα/Articles

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