The spatially explicit water scarcity footprint

#Water footprint #water scarcity #life cycle assessment #environmental assessment #water consumption
A global map describes the phenomenon of the possible displacement of problems due to the use of resources from all over the world that require water for their extraction and processing. The map shows a sugar mill in Brazil that needs fertilizer to grow sugar cane, the remains of which are also used to generate electricity. The components for this (boron, nitrates, phosphate, potash and zinc) come from various mines worldwide (marked as red dots on the map), some of which have been selected here as delivery regions and linked to the sugar mill with arrows. The extraction of the respective resource has the potential to contribute to regional water scarcity on site.
Possible displacement of problems due to the use of resources from all over the world that require water for their extraction and processing. The map shows a sugar mill in Brazil that needs fertilizer to grow sugar cane, the remains of which are also used to generate electricity. The components for this come from various mines worldwide (red dots), some of which have been selected here as examples. The extraction of the respective resource has the potential to contribute to regional water scarcity on site. © Anna Schomberg

In order to answer how the water availability for electricity production influences the global energy transition, the ecological water footprint has been further developed into a spatially explicit evaluation method for the comparison of process-related water use as part of the WANDEL project.

The WANDEL project aims to answer the questions of whether the availability of water for power generation can accelerate the global energy transition or hinder it. Sustainable technologies in electricity production often focus on reducing the carbon footprint, while neglecting other adverse effects on the environment. One possible environmental impact is the contribution to regional water scarcity. Solar thermal power plants in the Moroccan desert are a good example here: water is required to clean desert dust from the solar panels, while some older power plants are even cooled with water. In water-scarce regions, however, water is a valuable upon which many users depend, particularly local residents and agriculture. The water footprint is a promising tool for determining and comparing the life cycle water consumption of different systems at local and regional levels against the background of regional water availability. In the WANDEL project, this tool has been refined into the water scarcity footprint, a life cycle assessment procedure for process-related water consumption with a spatially explicit assessment of the entire supply chain against the background of regional water scarcity. The method can be used wherever specialist knowledge about the life cycle assessment and information about process-related water consumption is available and needs to be evaluated. The determined results can help to identify water use hotspots along global supply chains and find potential for optimisation.

Water resource: Drinking water, Groundwater, Process water, Rainwater, Surface water, Wastewater
Type of product:
  • Management concepts & assessments
Application sector: Agriculture, Cities and municipalities, Industry, Natural water environment, Water resource management
Funding measure: GRoW
Project: WANDEL

Contact and partners


Logo Universität Kassel, Center for Environmental Systems Research
  • Universität Kassel, Center for Environmental Systems Research,
  • Wilhelmshöher Allee 47,
  • 34117 Kassel
http://www.uni-kassel.de/einrichtungen/cesr
Anna Schomberg
  • anna.schomberg@uni-kassel.de
  • +49 (0) 561 804 6047

Universität Kassel, Center for Environmental Systems Research,
Kassel

Media library


This site uses third-party website tracking technologies to provide its services. I agree to this and can revoke or change my consent at any time with effect for the future.