Adding green to blue: An integral update to freshwater consumption estimates worldwide

Project leader

Funding source

Formas - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 4765904 SEK


Problem: Human consumption of freshwater has dramatically increased worldwide, threatening its current and future availability and the stability of the Earth System. However, global and regional assessments addressing this problematic are: 1) based only in consumption of blue water (from water resources on land) ignoring that of the larger but more difficult to quantify green water (soil-stored rainwater that is evaporated or transpired by plants), and/or 2) difficult to apply by decision makers to other regions and scales. Aim: to develop activity-specific estimates of freshwater consumption from various land and water uses that are integral and user-friendly and to use them for quantifications of consumption at regional and global scales. Approach: To combine the latest water-related remote sensing techniques with land/water use data and an already developed basin-wise approach that uses fundamental physical water balance-constraints to differentiate the influence of human activities on the freshwater system. Outcome: Estimates and corresponding uncertainty of activity-specific freshwater consumption, and related quantifications of freshwater consumption for a sub-regional basin and globally. Importance: The estimates will be user-friendly and simple enough to be applied on other scales or regions by any decision-maker assessing water availability or the stability of the Earth System and may be used to replace/compliment former blue-water consumption estimates.

Last updated on 2017-01-08 at 13:47