Title: The water footprint of agricultural products in European river basins
Authors: VANHAM DAVYBIDOGLIO Giovanni
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS vol. 9 no. 6 p. 064007
Publisher: IOP PUBLISHING LTD
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC89729
ISSN: 1748-9326
URI: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/6/064007/
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC89729
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/6/064007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This work quantifies the agricultural water footprint (WF) of production (WFprod, agr) and consumption (WFcons, agr) and the resulting net virtual water import (netVWi, agr) of 365 European river basins for a reference period (REF, 1996–2005) and two diet scenarios (a healthy diet based upon food-based dietary guidelines (HEALTHY) and a vegetarian (VEG) diet). In addition to total (tot) amounts, a differentiation is also made between the green (gn), blue (bl) and grey (gy) components. River basins where the REF WFcons, agr, tot exceeds the WFprod, agr, tot (resulting in positive netVWi, agr, tot values), are found along the London–Milan axis. These include the Thames, Scheldt, Meuse, Seine, Rhine and Po basins. River basins where the WFprod, agr, tot exceeds the WFcons, agr, tot are found in Western France, the Iberian Peninsula and the Baltic region. These include the Loire, Ebro and Nemunas basins. Under the HEALTHY diet scenario, the WFcons, agr, tot of most river basins decreases (max −32%), although it was found to increase in some basins in northern and eastern Europe. This results in 22 river basins, including the Danube, shifting from being net VW importers to being net VW exporters. A reduction (max −46%) in WFcons, agr, tot is observed for all but one river basin under the VEG diet scenario. In total, 50 river basins shift from being net VW importers to being net exporters, including the Danube, Seine, Rhone and Elbe basins. Similar observations are made when only the gn + bl and gn components are assessed. When analysing only the bl component, a different river basin pattern is observed.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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