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Water footprint accounting of green and blue water. Guadalquivir river (Spain) case study.

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Traditional water studies and planning focus on blue water withdrawals, considered usually as the unique variable to report the demand of the sectors of the economy. Nevertheless, the interactions of water cycle with the environment and human activity is much more diversified, and a series of complementary indicators is necessary in order to have a more detailed view and comprehension of water use.Thus, the solution aims to promote green and blue water accounting thanks to the water footprint (WF) methodology. The WF is considered as the human appropriation of hydrological  flows (Hoekstra et al., 2011). By computing only the consumptive use, the WF offers a complementary view to the classical one that considers only withdrawals, allowing a more accurate view of water consumption, its impacts and the effect of possible demand reduction measures (e.g. improved efficiency of application of irrigation water). In some situations, the WF could be a better indicator, as it stands for the actual depletion of the resources.

 

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Comprehensive Water Life Cycle Assessment for decision analysis

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Several features of water resources make their impacts difficult to quantify using conventional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approaches. Water consumption varies spatially and temporally, different water sources are not necessarily commensurable, and impact depends on the state of the resource base that is drawn upon. Despite these difficulties, comprehensive water LCA, if performed correctly, can be a useful tool in land use, policy planning, and mitigation decisions.

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Evaluation Framework for Energy Impacts on Water

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The objective of the process over the next three years is development of a conceptual and analytical framework (and subsequent tool/s) for assessing and reporting the impact of energy services on water, noting that this must be comprehensive, coherent, consistent and applicable across all energy sources/technologies.

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Blue Water Footprint Reduction

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Barilla with the support of an Italian breeder (PSB) , has developed a high quality variety of durum wheat, called Aureo and cultivated in Italy, that is similar to the Alamo variety cultivated in the desert area of the United States South-West. For its qualitative characteristics the Aureo is replacing the Alamo, produced in the United States. Since in that area the irrigation is the principal way to get water, this project lead to a large reduction of durum wheat water footprint, especially regarding the blue water.

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Ethical Water Stock Exchange

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The solution is a platform, the Ethical Water Exchange, to facilitate the organization and financing of sanitation via matchings of treated water demands or commitments for sustainable productions or for nature or for a good energy impact e.g. sludge gas or reduction of the interdependence between water & energy consumed to pump groundwater.

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