European Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050

Ertug Ercin, Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


This study develops water footprint scenarios for Europe for 2050, at the country level, based on projections regarding population and economic growth, production and trade patterns, consumption patterns (diets and bioenergy use) and technological development. The objective is to estimate possible future changes in the green, blue and grey water footprint (WF) of production and consumption, to analyze the main drivers of projected changes and to assess Europe's future dependence on water resources elsewhere in the world. We develop four scenarios, considering globalization versus regional self-sufficiency, and development driven by economic objectives versus development driven by social and environmental objectives. The study shows that the most critical driver of change affecting Europe's future WF is the consumption pattern. The WFs of both production and consumption in Western Europe increase under scenarios with high meat consumption and decrease with low-meat scenarios. Besides, additional water demands from increasing biofuel needs will put further pressure on European water resources. The European countries with a large ratio of external to total WF of consumption in 2000 decrease their dependencies on foreign water resources in 2050
Original languageEnglish
Article number226
Pages (from-to)226-
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • IR-100626
  • METIS-316748


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