What’s your Water Footprint?

Posted by Christine, February 11, 2014
Grey water footprint accounting: Tier 1 supporting guidelinesTogether with Dokuz Eylul University and University of Twente, the Water Footprint Network released the much awaited guideline document on accounting the grey water footprint. This document is the outcome of a very intense collaborative and iterative process with inputs from WFN’s partners and experts in this field lasting for more than a year. It provides detailed guidelines and suggests the most appropriate default data sets to be used where field data are limited due to time and resource constraints. To download the guidelines please follow the link.

Ground-breaking work on industrial Water Footprint Assessment

The Water Footprint Network (WFN) alongside IFC and Tata Group is to release the final report of their groundbreaking study on the industrial water footprint in India; “Water Footprint Assessment -Tata Chemicals-Tata Motors-Tata Power-Tata Steel: Results and Learning.” For more information please see the press release.To download the report please follow the link.


The Water Footprint Assessment Manual

The Global Water Footprint Standard – developed through a joint effort of the Water Footprint Network, its partners, and scientists of the University of Twente in the Netherlands – has garnered international support from major companies, policymakers, NGOs and scientists as an important step toward solving the world’s ever increasing water problems. The standard is contained in the Water Footprint Assessment Manual.

More info on the Global Water Footprint Standard.
Download The Water Footprint Assessment Manual.

Translations available in Chinese and Portuguese.

The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society

The new book by professor Arjen Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept, is available now: The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society. An absolute must-read for everyone interested in sustainable water use.

Purchase the The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society.



DefinitionThe Water Footprint of a product is the volume of freshwater appropriated to produce the product, taking into account the volumes of water consumed and polluted in the different steps of the supply chain. DonateHelp us to promote the transition towards sustainable, fair and efficient use of fresh water resources worldwide. Donate now.


Direct and indirect water use

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

Highlights of the site
Water footprint calculator
Product gallery
WaterStat database
WFA Tool
Water-Energy Nexus
Key publicationsThe Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society
Water Footprint Assessment Manual
Globalization of Water
Water Footprint of Humanity
Water Footprints of Crop Products
Water Footprint of Animal Products
Global Water Scarcity


The relation between consumption and water use

“The interest in the water footprint is rooted in the recognition that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption, and that issues like water shortages and pollution can be better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole,” says Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept. “Water problems are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. Many countries have significantly externalised their water footprint, importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions, where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking. Not only governments, but also consumers, businesses and civil society communities can play a role in achieving a better management of water resources.”

Some facts and figures

The production of one kilogram of beef requires 15 thousand litres of water (93% green, 4% blue, 3% grey water footprint). There is a huge variation around this global average. The precise footprint of a piece of beef depends on factors such as the type of production system and the composition and origin of the feed of the cow. [download report]


The water footprint of a 150-gram soy burger produced in the Netherlands is about 160 litres. A beef burger from the same country costs about 1000 litres. [download report]


The water footprint of Chinese consumption is about 1070 cubic meter per year per capita. About 10% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China. [download report]


Japan with a footprint of 1380 cubic meter per year per capita, has about 77% of its total water footprint outside the borders of the country. [download report]


The water footprint of US citizens is 2840 cubic meter per year per capita. About 20% of this water footprint is external. The largest external water footprint of US consumption lies in the Yangtze river basin, China. [download report]


The global water footprint in the period 1996-2005 was 9087 Gm3/yr (74% green, 11% blue, 15% grey). Agricultural production contributes 92% to this total footprint. [download report]


Water scarcity affects over 2.7 billion people for at least one month each year. [download report]

  1. nogridorg Says:

    What’s your Water Footprint? http://t.co/mVjnvv6H0M

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