Sustainable Water Consumption

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2016) | Viewed by 62731

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Environmental Engineering, HPZ E 33, John-von-Neumann-Weg 9, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: Water footprint; International trade; Ecosystem impact assessment; Uncertainty assessment; Life cycle assessment

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Guest Editor
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Clayton, VIC 3169, Australia
Interests: greenhouse gas emissions in livestock production and food systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable water consumption is a major challenge for the increasing global population. Already now, a large share of population is suffering from water scarcity and water consumption is a main driver of ecosystem damage. The distribution of the resource and its consumption make it a critical resource in many regions. Problems are intensified rather than mitigated in a globalized world, since prices and costs of production (e.g., agriculture) are guiding economies rather than environmental impacts, and water management is often driven by the demand and not the availability.

For this Special Issue we invite contributions that address the problem of sustainable water consumption from different perspectives. Especially biomass production needs some rethinking: What are efficient ways of producing healthy food, sustainable energy, and fiber from a water resource perspective? How can food waste be reduced to avoid overproduction? Where should production happen and do we need to abandon current practices? It is important to link global production and markets to local problems and vice versa. Quantifying environmental and social impacts and benefits is needed too, since agriculture is still the main income in many economies of the world. Additionally, industrial production and households are relevant: improved efficiency and savings are often more sustainable than technical solutions (e.g., water storage, transfers, desalination) and alternative approaches for sustainable water management are needed.

Dr. Stephan Pfister
Dr. Brad Ridoutt
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • water depletion
  • water footprint
  • environmental impacts
  • sustainable development
  • international trade
  • water efficiency
  • water transfers
  • urbanization
  • alternative water supply systems

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

1470 KiB  
Article
Causes of Domestic Water Consumption Trends in the City of Alicante: Exploring the Links between the Housing Bubble, the Types of Housing and the Socio-Economic Factors
by Álvaro-Francisco Morote, María Hernández and Antonio-Manuel Rico
Water 2016, 8(9), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8090374 - 31 Aug 2016
Cited by 52 | Viewed by 7185
Abstract
The European Mediterranean coastline has experienced major tourism-related urbanization since 1960. This is a dynamic that has led to increased spending on water consumption for urban and tourism-related uses. The objective of this paper is to define and to analyze how domestic water [...] Read more.
The European Mediterranean coastline has experienced major tourism-related urbanization since 1960. This is a dynamic that has led to increased spending on water consumption for urban and tourism-related uses. The objective of this paper is to define and to analyze how domestic water consumption in the city of Alicante evolved between 2000 and 2013. Real billing figures for individual households were analyzed according to the type of housing and the income level of the occupants. The conclusions drawn show that consumption fell over the period studied, and that there are different patterns in water expenditure depending on the type of housing and the inhabitants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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3593 KiB  
Article
Potential Impacts of Food Production on Freshwater Availability Considering Water Sources
by Shinjiro Yano, Naota Hanasaki, Norihiro Itsubo and Taikan Oki
Water 2016, 8(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040163 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 8278
Abstract
We quantify the potential impacts of global food production on freshwater availability (water scarcity footprint; WSF) by applying the water unavailability factor (fwua) as a characterization factor and a global water resource model based on life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). Each [...] Read more.
We quantify the potential impacts of global food production on freshwater availability (water scarcity footprint; WSF) by applying the water unavailability factor (fwua) as a characterization factor and a global water resource model based on life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). Each water source, including rainfall, surface water, and groundwater, has a distinct fwua that is estimated based on the renewability rate of each geographical water cycle. The aggregated consumptive water use level for food production (water footprint inventory; WI) was found to be 4344 km3/year, and the calculated global total WSF was 18,031 km3 H2Oeq/year, when considering the difference in water sources. According to the fwua concept, which is based on the land area required to obtain a unit volume of water from each source, the calculated annual impact can also be represented as 98.5 × 106 km2. This value implies that current agricultural activities requires a land area that is over six times larger than global total cropland. We also present the net import of the WI and WSF, highlighting the importance of quantitative assessments for utilizing global water resources to achieve sustainable water use globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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1228 KiB  
Article
Feasibility Study of Advanced NOM-Reduction by Hollow Fiber Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration at a Swedish Surface Water Treatment Plant
by Angelica Lidén and Kenneth M. Persson
Water 2016, 8(4), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040150 - 14 Apr 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 6036
Abstract
Membrane technology, i.e., ultrafiltration and nanofiltration, is growing in popularity, as it is a space efficient alternative for surface water treatment. Two types of hollow fiber membranes were tested in a fully equipped and automated pilot at a Swedish water treatment plant. Raw [...] Read more.
Membrane technology, i.e., ultrafiltration and nanofiltration, is growing in popularity, as it is a space efficient alternative for surface water treatment. Two types of hollow fiber membranes were tested in a fully equipped and automated pilot at a Swedish water treatment plant. Raw water was treated by a nanofilter and by coagulation before an ultrafilter. Operation parameters recorded during these trials have been the basis for cost estimations and assessments of environmental impact, comparing the two membrane modules to the existing conventional treatment. The membranes required lower chemical consumption, but led to increased costs from membrane modules and a higher energy demand. Compared to the existing treatment (0.33 €/m3), the operational costs were estimated to increase 6% for ultrafiltration and 30% for nanofiltration. Considering the low emissions from Nordic energy production, the membrane processes would lower the environmental impact, including factors such as climate and ecosystem health. Greenhouse gas emissions would decrease from 161 g CO2-eq/m3 of the existing process, to 127 g CO2-eq/m3 or 83 g CO2-eq/m3 for ultrafiltration and nanofiltration, respectively. Lower chemical consumption and less pollution from the sludge leaving the water treatment plant lead to lower impacts on the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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1678 KiB  
Article
Water Productivity under Drought Conditions Estimated Using SEEA-Water
by María M. Borrego-Marín, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín and Julio Berbel
Water 2016, 8(4), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040138 - 7 Apr 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5572
Abstract
This paper analyzes the impact of droughts on agricultural water productivity in the period 2004–2012 in the Guadalquivir River Basin using the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water). Relevant events in this period include two meteorological droughts (2005 and 2012), the implementation [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the impact of droughts on agricultural water productivity in the period 2004–2012 in the Guadalquivir River Basin using the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water). Relevant events in this period include two meteorological droughts (2005 and 2012), the implementation of the Drought Management Plan by the basin's water authority (2006, 2007 and 2008), and the effects of irrigated area modernization (water-saving investment). Results show that SEEA-Water can be used to study the productivity of water and the economic impact of the different droughts. Furthermore, the results reflect the fact that irrigated agriculture (which makes up 65% of the gross value added, or GVA, of the total primary sector) has considerably higher water productivity than rain-fed agriculture. Additionally, this paper separately examines blue water productivity and total water productivity within irrigated agriculture, finding an average productivity of 1.33 EUR/m3 and 0.48 EUR/m3, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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550 KiB  
Article
Reducing Agricultural Water Footprints at the Farm Scale: A Case Study in the Beijing Region
by Jing Huang, Changchun Xu, Bradley G. Ridoutt and Fu Chen
Water 2015, 7(12), 7066-7077; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7126674 - 18 Dec 2015
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 8107
Abstract
Beijing is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. Reducing agricultural water use has long been the basis of local policy for sustainable water use. In this article, the potential to reduce the life cycle (cradle to gate) water footprints of [...] Read more.
Beijing is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. Reducing agricultural water use has long been the basis of local policy for sustainable water use. In this article, the potential to reduce the life cycle (cradle to gate) water footprints of wheat and maize that contribute to 94% of the local cereal production was assessed. Following ISO 14046, consumptive and degradative water use for the wheat-maize rotation system was modeled under different irrigation and nitrogen (N) application options. Reducing irrigation water volume by 33.3% compared to current practice did not cause a significant yield decline, but the water scarcity footprint and water eutrophication footprint were decreased by 27.5% and 23.9%, respectively. Similarly, reducing the N application rate by 33.3% from current practice did not cause a significant yield decline, but led to a 52.3% reduction in water eutrophication footprint while maintaining a similar water scarcity footprint. These results demonstrate that improving water and fertilizer management has great potential for reducing the crop water footprints at the farm scale. This situation in Beijing is likely to be representative of the challenge facing many of the water-stressed regions in China, where a sustainable means of agricultural production must be found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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410 KiB  
Article
Mealworms for Food: A Water Footprint Perspective
by Pier Paolo Miglietta, Federica De Leo, Marcello Ruberti and Stefania Massari
Water 2015, 7(11), 6190-6203; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7116190 - 6 Nov 2015
Cited by 133 | Viewed by 25229
Abstract
In this paper, we have explored the possibility of substituting traditional meat products with an alternative source of protein (insects) in order to reduce human pressure on water. Insects, in fact, could represent a good alternative source of quality proteins and nutrients and [...] Read more.
In this paper, we have explored the possibility of substituting traditional meat products with an alternative source of protein (insects) in order to reduce human pressure on water. Insects, in fact, could represent a good alternative source of quality proteins and nutrients and they are already a very popular component of the diet of one third of the world’s population in approximately 80% of countries. In the study, we have taken into account only two species of edible insects (Tenebrio molitor and Zophobas morio mealworms), because they are already commercially produced even in Western countries, and for this reason it is possible to find specific data in literature about their diets. We have used the water footprint (WF) as a reliable indicator to calculate the volume of water required for production and to compare different products. The final aim of the work is, in fact, to evaluate the WF of the production of edible insects with a focus on water consumption associated with protein content, in order to make a comparison with other animal protein sources. We have demonstrated that, from a freshwater resource perspective, it is more efficient to obtain protein through mealworms rather than other traditional farmed animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
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