Showing results for: Water footprint/virtual water
FCRN member Dr Rosemary Green of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has published a paper that calculates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use associated with five dietary patterns in India. As shown below, GHG emissions per capita are highest for the “rice and meat” dietary pattern (at 1.2 tonnes CO2 eq. per year) and lowest for the “wheat, rice and oils” pattern (at 0.8 tonnes CO2 eq. per year). For comparison, per capita dietary GHG emissions in the UK have been estimated at 2.6 tonnes CO2 eq. per year for high meat eaters and 1.1 tonnes CO2 eq. per year for vegans (Scarborough et al., 2014). Water use is highest for the “wheat, rice and oils” pattern and lowest for the “rice and low diversity” pattern.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a worldwide map that details croplands in high resolution in an ongoing effort to monitor croplands and water use.
Based on a case study from Oakland California, a new report by Friends of the Earth US finds that schools can make lunches healthier and more climate-friendly while also saving money— by reformulating menus so that they are more plant centred, and contain less (and better) meat and fewer dairy products.
This research identifies the major crops and countries contributing to groundwater depletion. The authors found that 11 percent of unsustainable groundwater used for irrigation is embedded in international crop trade. They highlight the main exporters and importers of these crops, and the associated risks for local and global food and water security.
This article by T.C. Ponsioen of Wageningen University, and H.M.G. van der Werf of INRA, discusses the major sources of inconsistency in life cycle assessment (LCA) analyses of food and drink, and makes recommendations to address these inconsistencies. The article begins by describing the many attempts that have been made to standardise (or ‘harmonise’) environmental footprints of food and drink, and identifies five main areas which lack consensus.
This study models the water demand of land acquisitions in Africa as a function of crop choice, local climate, and irrigation scenarios. Its authors distinguish between green and blue water, equating to water from rainfall and that provided to crops by irrigation respectively.
The Oxfam briefing Feeding Climate Change: what the Paris Agreement Means for Food & Beverage Companies looks at commodities and climate change and policy from the perspective of the food and beverage industry.
This study aims to assess the effect of five dietary scenarios – designed to promote healthier and more sustainable eating – on the blue water scarcity footprint of UK food consumption. The objectives are to estimate the total blue water consumed in producing food commodities consumed in the UK; the contribution, and geographical concentration, to global blue water scarcity; and the potential impact of alternative healthy eating scenarios on global blue water scarcity.
This study published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in the journal Environmental Research Letters analyses the water footprint of agricultural production and consumption in Europe. It looks at the net virtual water import of 365 European river basins for the period between 1996-2005 based on two diet scenarios – a healthy diet based upon food-based dietary guidelines and a vegetarian diet.
Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. This FAO report argues that this waste represents a missed opportunity to improve global food security, and to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from the food supply chain.
This paper models the water footprint requirements of different diets. It concludes that vegetarian diets are less water intensive (both in terms of overall water use and ‘blue’ or irrigated water use) than current average EU diets.
Water is not only used in the domestic context, but also in agriculture and industry in the production of commercial goods, from food to paper. The water footprint is an indicator of freshwater use that looks at both direct and indirect use of water by a consumer or producer.
This paper finds that the water footprint of agricultural products (a definition that presumably includes non-food products) accounts for 91% of the EU’s production-related water footprint and 89% of its consumption related footpint. It argues that much more water can be saved by modifying diets and reducing food waste than through the traditional water-saving routes highlighted in mainstream awareness raising campaigns. The paper echoes others that find animal products to be particularly water intensive.