EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Advancing the Water Footprint into an instrument to support achieving the SDGs

Elsa Semmling1, Markus Berger2, Jazmin Campos3, Mauro Carolli4, Iana Dantas5, Ervin Kosatica6, Annika Kramer1, Natalia Mikosch2, Hamideh Nouri7, Anna Schlattmann8, Falk Schmidt9, and Anna Schomberg10
Elsa Semmling et al.
  • 1Water programme, adelphi research gGmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • 2Institute of Environmental Technology, TU Berlin, Germany
  • 3Institute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations University, Bonn, Germany
  • 4Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei, Berlin, Germany
  • 5Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany
  • 6Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences, University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • 7Division of Agronomy, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • 8Institute of Environmental Planning, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany
  • 9Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Postdam, Germany
  • 10Center for Environmental Systems Research, Kassel University, Germany

The water footprint has developed into a widely-used concept to examine water use and resulting local impacts caused during agricultural and industrial production. Building on recent advancements in the water footprint concept, it can be an effective steering instrument to support, inter alia, achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) - SDG 6 in particular. Within the research program “Water as a Global Resource” (GRoW), an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, a number of research projects currently apply and enhance the water footprint concept in order to identify areas where water is being used inefficiently and implement practical optimization measures. We aim to raise awareness on the potential of the water footprint concept to inform decision-making in the public and private sectors towards improved water management and achieving the SDGs. In particular, we show how modern water footprint methods and tools developed in GRoW can inform policy planning towards more sustainable use of water resources at various levels. They can also support producers in determining their indirect water use and associated impacts in supply chains, in addition to their (often comparably low) direct water use at production sites. Finally, we show how the water footprint can raise awareness and inform consumers about the hidden water use and resulting impacts of daily products and services.

How to cite: Semmling, E., Berger, M., Campos, J., Carolli, M., Dantas, I., Kosatica, E., Kramer, A., Mikosch, N., Nouri, H., Schlattmann, A., Schmidt, F., and Schomberg, A.: Advancing the Water Footprint into an instrument to support achieving the SDGs, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15434,, 2021.

Display materials

Display link Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion