ECOSYSTEMS L3- Water Production Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in ECOSYSTEMS L3- Water Production Deck (15):

Houses of Parliament (2011)

Global demand for water is forecast to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030...

a) population growth
b) economic growth
c) meat consumption


What are the impacts of excessive consumption?

i) alters the water cycle
ii) degrades production areas
iii) intensifies environmental problems

i) alters streamflow
ii) degrades eco-system
iii) displacement of people
iiii) high costs

i) high water levels extracted
ii) polluted run off

i) upgrades, general upkeep and treatment are expensive
ii) requires fuel consumption


What is a water footprint?

a measurement of water used to produce goods and services used


How much does the UK's reliance on virtual water affect the total consumption? (Jaramil and Destouni, 2015)

Consumption total increases by 31 times (Jaramil and Destouni, 2015)


What is virtual water?

Virtual water is the sum of all water used in the production process of a product- this water is embedded in products.


What is green water?

Rainwater consumed- stored in root zone and evaporated or incorporated by plants


What is blue water?

Sourced from surface or sub-surface resources- evaporated, incorporated into a product or transferred into a different body of water


What is grey water?

Contaminated waste water- it is an indicator of freshwater pollution


What are the advantages of a virtual water approach?

1) Resource efficiency assessment
Helps to identify areas for WF reduction
Improves overall understanding of water scarcity and pollution
Highlights connections between origin and destination of products

2) Helps measure the role of a product in the economy

3) Used as an indicator for social, political and environmental risks

4) Can help towards achieving SDGs


What are the disadvantages of a virtual water approach?

1) Virtual water flows are not determined by availability
A wet country's comparative advantage cannot solve another country's disadvantage
High virtual water use suggests reduction strategies are needed but this is not always the case

2) Doesn't express social, economic or environmental value of water in local communities

3) The concept conceals how economic power and water politics influences livelihoods

4) Not a direct or universal indicator of ecological damage
Not related to local economic opportunity costs of water (i.e. variation in seasons)


Hoekstra (2012)

Freshwater resources are subject to increasing pressure in the form of consumption and pollution. This problem needs to be addressed on a global scale.

Few governments currently consider reducing their water use via their water footprint. Such countries have externalised their water consumption without consideration of how this affects the country of origin.

76% of virtual water flows is related to agricultural activity. Mainly oil crops (43%).

The countries with the highest virtual water footprint are not necessarily water scare- the UK for example.


Hoekstra and Mekonnen (2012)

There is an imbalance between water availability and water demand. However, water demand varies extensively across different regions and different time scales.

E.g. in Europe and North America, water footprint spikes during summer months. BUT, countries in South America or SE Asia do not experience this pattern as they have more heterogeneous climates.

At least 2.7 billion people are living in basins that experience sever water scarcity for at least 1 month of the year.

E.g. The Indus River Basin (India) faces severe water scarcity during 8 months of the year- 212 million people rely on this basin.


Houses of Parliament (2011)

Global demand for water is forecast to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030.

On average, 95% of water use is invisible. Many countries are not conscious about how much VW they are using.

Businesses are only starting to consider the risks of interruptions in their water supply chain- water is becoming a large influencer in trade (much like economic or political factors).

Example- companies such as Coca Cola are beginning to quantify their WF and identify hotspots of use.


Hoekstra (2010)

Businesses are increasingly recognising that WF should be incorporated into their 'corporate social responsibility'.

Incentives to recognise WF:
1) Risk related to shortages in supply
2) Regulatory control of water
3) Ability to enforce corporate image and strengthen brand name

Protecting freshwater resources can no longer be viewed as a localised problem.


Bai (2001)

Sustainable water resource management has become a critical issue for the development of cities that suffer water scarcity. It has been found that regions that experience water scarcity tend to have higher efficiency rates.

Example- Tianjin City (China) has one of the most polluted and water scarce basins in China.
Shortage of agricultural supply is causing the illegal use of urban sewage- posing a risk to human health.