A water footprint is a decision support tool that can be used to manage water related risks within your supply chain. The approach was first developed by prof. Arjen Hoekstra at UNESCO-IHE and further developed at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Despite its name a water footprint isn't as similar to a carbon footprint as you would imagine.
Water footprinting is a consumption based accounting method. It is concerned with the net consumption of water, rather than merely the amount of water abstracted. A water footprint breaks down the consumption of water into three categories, as shown in the diagram below:
According to the Water Footprint Network method these are:
There is also an International Standard on water footprinting, which is ISO 14046 on water footprinting.
What are the main benefits of water footprinting?
The main benefits of a water footprint assessment include: