Global water  

Where can I find the standard?

The global water footprint standard is contained in the Water Footprint Assessment Manual, which can be downloaded for free. You can get your hardcopy by ordering it in your local bookstore or buying it online through the publisher.

Why one global standard?

A shared standard on definitions and calculation methods is crucial given the rapidly growing interest in companies and governments to use water footprint accounts as a basis for formulating sustainable water strategies and policies. The water footprint is an effective tool only when used in a rigid manner, not when used as a metaphor.

History of the global standard

The current standard is an updated, revised and expanded version of the first version of the standard that was published by the Water Footprint Network in November 2009. The current standard, published in February 2011, has been produced after intensive consultations with partners and researchers worldwide.

Following the publication of the first version in 2009, all partners of the WFN were invited to provide feedback on the manual. In addition, two working groups were formed, one addressing questions around the grey water footprint and the other one studying issues pertaining to water footprint sustainability assessment. In addition, a number of partners initiated pilot projects in collaboration with the WFN that aimed at exploring the practical implications of using the water footprint in formulating a corporate water strategy or water policy in a specific geographical setting. On the basis of feedbacks received new scientific publications, experiences from practical water footprint pilots and working group reports the WFN prepared a draft of the revised standard. The Scientific Peer Review Committee of the Water Footprint Network reviewed the draft version and made specific recommendations. The current standard is based on the incorporation of those recommendations.

Future outlook

All over the world research in this area is rapidly developing and more and more pilot studies on water footprint assessment are initiated, across all sectors of economy and covering all continents. In order to learn from the various ongoing practical water footprint pilot projects and from expected new scientific publications, the WFN invites both partners and non-partners to provide feedback on the standard. In this way we hope to make best use of the diverse experiences that individuals and organizations have when evaluating water footprints within different contexts and for different purposes. We aim to further refine the water footprint methodology so that it best serves the various purposes that different sectors in society see for it, at the same time striving for coherence, consistency and scientific scrutiny.

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