Water, in particular clean drinking water, is globally becoming a scarcer and ever more valuable commodity. Water is also used in large quantities during the manufacture of products. For example, the manufacture of a cotton T-shirt uses about 3,000 l water, 1kg beef around 16,000 l water and a car needs no less than 200,000 l water.
The water footprint on its own is a simple measure of the consumption of water, including a distinction between:
- surface and groundwater (blue water)
- rainwater (green water)
- contaminated water (grey water)
However, in most cases the availability of water is more critical than the demand. The consumption of 100 l water for a shower in Switzerland is less of an issue than in a desert area. Therefore, we consider not only the water quantities used (water footprint), but also the water scarcity, which results from ratio of water availability to water consumption in the region in question. A measure of the water scarcity is a more accurate reflection of the overall environmental impact of water consumption in a particular region.
On the basis of our experience with assessing the water footprints of everything from individual products to entire countries, we can help you to establish specific water footprints and their environmental impacts. Our procedure is consistent with Life Cycle Assessment:
- Establishing the objectives, system boundaries and most suitable methods;
- Collection of data and calculation of the impact;
- Compilation of a detailed impact account sheet (environmental impact of water use);
- Analysis of the relevant factors;
- Identification of management options, measures and recommendations;
- Support during the implementation of measures, monitoring and report preparation.