Water footprints and sustainable water allocation

Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra, Ashok Chapagain, Guoping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
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Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) is a quickly growing research field. This Special Issue contains a selection of papers advancing the field or showing innovative applications. The first seven papers are geographic WFA studies, from an urban to a continental scale; the next five papers have a global scope; the final five papers focus on water sustainability from the business point of view. The collection of papers shows that the historical picture of a town relying on its hinterland for its supply of water and food is no longer true: the water footprint of urban consumers is global. It has become clear that wise water governance is no longer the exclusive domain of government, even though water is and will remain a public resource with government in a primary role. With most water being used for producing our food and other consumer goods, and with product supply chains becoming increasingly complex and global, there is a growing awareness that consumers, companies and investors also have a key role. The interest in sustainable water use grows quickly, in both civil society and business communities, but the poor state of transparency of companies regarding their direct and indirect water use implies that there is still a long way to go before we can expect that companies effectively contribute to making water footprints more sustainable at a relevant scale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Number of pages6
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • IR-100892
  • METIS-314846


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