Sustainability of national consumption from a water resources perspective: The case study for France

Ertug Ercin, Mesfin Mekonnen, Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra

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67 Citations (Scopus)


It has become increasingly evident that local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. It has been estimated that 20% of the water consumption and pollution in the world relates to the production of export goods. This study analyzes how French water resources are allocated over various purposes, and examines impacts of French production in local water resources. In addition, it analyzes the water dependency of French consumption and the sustainability of imports. The basins of the Loire, Seine, Garonne, and Escaut have been identified as priority basins where maize and industrial production are the dominant factors for the blue water scarcity. About 47% of the water footprint of French consumption is related to imported agricultural products. Cotton, sugar cane and rice are the three major crops that are identified as critical products in a number of severely water-scarce river basins: The basins of the Aral Sea and the Indus, Ganges, Guadalquivir, Guadiana, Tigris & Euphrates, Ebro, Mississippi and Murray rivers. The study shows that the analysis of the external water footprint of a nation is necessary to get a complete picture of the relation between national consumption and the use of water resources.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)133-147
JournalEcological economics
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-294856
  • IR-84599

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