The water footprint of Europe – the total volume of water used for producing all commodities consumed by European citizens – has been significantly externalised to other parts of the world. Europe is for example a large importer of cotton, one of the most thirsty crops. Coffee is imported from Colombia, soybean from Brazil, rice from Thailand, etcetera. European consumption strongly relies on the water resources available outside Europe. Since the pressure on freshwater resources outside Europe is growing, because of population growth, increasing levels of production and climate change, an emerging and vital question is: How sustainable is Europe’s water footprint? Can Europeans continue to rely on water resources elsewhere given the growing number of instances of water overexploitation in some of the places from where Europe imports water-intensive consumer goods? In this paper I address these questions and argue that coping with those questions involves governments, but companies and investors as well.
|Publisher||Stichting Kennisuitwisseling Industriële Watertechnologie, SKIW|
|Conference||Het Nationale Watersymposium 2011|
|Period||19/05/11 → 19/05/11|