Hey, What is Water Footprinting????


Water footpriting?? You may not know what water footprinting is. It is a relatively new terminology. Water footprint measures the amount of water used to produce each of the goods and services we use. According to waterfootprint.org,

The water footprint is a measure of humanity’s appropriation of fresh water in volumes of water consumed and/or polluted.

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The water footprint looks at both direct and indirect water use of a process, product, company or sector and includes water consumption and pollution throughout the full production cycle from the supply chain to the end-user. For example, water footprint of dairy products can be calculated. This water footprint would also include the water that the cow or any other animal uses, the water footprint of the food that it eats, etc.

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Water footprints are of three type:

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Green water footprint is water from precipitation that is stored in the root zone of soil and evaporated, transpired or incorporated by plants. It is particularly relevant for agricultural, horticultural and forestry products.

Blue water footprint is water that has been sourced from surface or groundwater resources and is either evaporated, incorporated into a product or taken from one body of water and returned to another, or returned at a different time. Irrigated agriculture, industry and domestic water use can each have a blue water footprint.

Grey water footprint is the amount of fresh water required to assimilate pollutants.The grey water footprint considers point-sources of pollution, or other diffuse sources.

We consume alot of products and services daily. For example, we use water, eat rice, cereals, we buy new clothes, etc. These all products have their own water footprint. So,it is our duty to recognize and leave such products that have large water footprint. For example, coffee and meat have very high water footprints. So, we should avoid coffee and meat when we can.

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Following is contribution of various products and services to the global water footprint.

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You can calculate your water footprints can be calculated through this interactive quiz.

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You can also check you nations water footprint, water availability, etc., through this interactive explorer.

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Other than water footprints, there are many other types of footprints. Major footprints are,

  1. Ecological Footprint: Measures the use of bio-productive space.
  2. Carbon Footprint: Measures the emission of gases that contribute to global warming.
  3. Water Footprint: Measures the consumption and contamination of freshwater resources.
  4. Nitrogen Footprint: Measures the amount of nitrogen released into the environment in relation to consumption.

     If you like this post or want more information about this (although I am not any expert but I worked on this as a project), please do comment.

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