The Resource Intensity of Water Services

 As always, it is important to recognise the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. No matter how much we can improve the ‘efficiency’ of water services as they exist in, say, the UK, they would not represent an ‘effective’ use of water service resources in India. See Sunita Narain’s foreword in The Worldwatch Institutes ‘2006 State of the World’ in which Gandhi is also quoted as saying

“If it took Britain the rape of half the world to be where it is now, how many worlds would India need?”


Water efficiency organisation launched

17 December 2008 A global organisation promoting resource efficiency of water has been launched with partners from civil society, academia, multilateral organisations and business.

The Water Footprint Network, which aims to encourage the transition to equitable and sustainable water use around the world, was launched earlier this week.

Among its founding members are conservation group WWF and the University of Twente, while the Nature Conservancy and Unilever PLC are among its first partners.

The organisation will set standards for footprint accounting and reduce the negative impact individuals, organisations and business’ water footprints have on people and the environment.

Professor Arjen Hoekstra, the network’s scientific director, said: “The concept of Water Footprint has really helped to create the understanding that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption.

“Issues like local water shortages and pollution are now better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole. Local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the global trade of water-intensive goods.”

The network reports that 16,000 litres of water are used in the production of one kilogram of beef and 140 litres go into the production of a single cup of coffee.


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