Second workshop on the “water footprint” cross-cutting topic


The GRoW community’s work on cross-cutting topics is entering its second round. With a lively and successful workshop on 27 September, the “water footprint” cross-cutting topic continued its work on key issues identified during its first meeting in March this year.

This second workshop was about further investigating the issues and identifying possible synergies within the GRoW projects.

After hearing three input presentations, the group discussed the possibilities and limitations of water footprints by focusing on three questions:

  • How can water footprints be linked to economic and social impacts (e.g. consumer health, consumer/societal costs)? 
  • How can trade affect water stress – and vice versa - in certain regions, and what are the links to mitigation strategies?
  • How can water footprints address water quality and water pollution?

There was broad consensus amongst participants on the importance of assessing water footprints beyond their volumetric environmental outcomes. It also became clear that the approaches to using water footprints differ widely across the different projects, and that there is no “one size fits all” solution. To collect and disseminate their findings, the participants decided to develop a position paper. The paper aims to critically discuss the quantitative approach to water footprints, highlight which factors should be included and how this can be done, and analyse the potentials and limitations of water footprints based on scientific discussions from the perspective of GRoW.

The next workshop on the cross-cutting topic will be organized in spring 2019.

The presentations and workshop minutes are available here.