THE LEADING global authority on water footprint assessment – the Water Footprint Network (WFN) – launched the world’s first online tool to calculate and map water footprints today (3rd September).
Created in conjunction with the University of Twente, with funding from DEG, IFC and Unilever, the Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) Tool 1.0 was unveiled at World Water Week in Stockholm this morning to an audience of environmental experts, government officials and NGOs.
The tool is being made free and can be used by anyone interested in sustainable, efficient and fair water use, providing them with clear insight into how water is used and the impacts resulting from those uses.
The WFA Tool 1.0 takes users through a structured process to quantify and map their water footprints. This can be carried out for a geographic area (by specific location, such as a river basin or catchment, in multiple locations or across an entire country), or for a single production process/multiple processes (by sector, company, individual facility, throughout the supply chain or for specific products or crops).
The WFA Tool 1.0 then analyses the sustainability of water footprints in terms of water scarcity. This means users can identify whether their water footprints are in a “water hotspot” — a location where water use exceeds freshwater availability.
Water Footprint Network created the WFA Tool 1.0 as part of its mission to drive local, national and international improvements to the way water is managed and used. Water resources, and freshwater and coastal ecosystems are coming under intense pressure from growing populations and the global economy, and more than 2.7 billion people in more than 200 river basins are affected by water scarcity for at least one month a year.
Ruth Mathews, Executive Director of Water Footprint Network, said: “Over use and pollution of freshwater are two of the world’s most serious threats and are already having devastating economic and environmental consequences. The Water Footprint Assessment Tool 1.0, which is available online for free, is the simplest and most effective way for businesses, governments and civil society around the world to assess and improve the sustainability of water use. The time for talking about the threat of water scarcity and poor water quality is over; now we need to act. The WFA Tool 1.0 allows anyone interested in sustainable water use to do just that.”