WATER FOOTPRINT VERIFICATION
Water has an important place in life for all living things. Irrigation, bathing, washing, cleaning, cooling and processing. As a result, too much water is consumed and polluted. On a global scale, most of the water use is in agricultural production, but the amount of water consumed and polluted in the industrial and local sectors is too high to be underestimated.
In this direction, various studies have been carried out to reduce this consumption. The necessity of making a measurement in terms of reducing consumption has been revealed. As we know, we cannot manage what we cannot measure. The process to be done will appear as a Water Footprint.
The Water Footprint can be seen as a comprehensive indicator of the allocation of freshwater resources alongside the traditional and limited water withdrawal measure. A product’s water footprint is the volume of fresh water used to produce the product, measured over the entire supply chain. It is a multidimensional indicator that shows the water consumption volumes and contaminated volumes according to the pollution type; All components of the total water footprint are indicated geographically and temporally.
The Blue Water Footprint refers to the consumption of blue water resources throughout a product’s supply chain. “Consumption” refers to the loss of water from the available ground surface water body in a catchment area. Losses occur when water evaporates, returns to another catchment area or sea, or is incorporated into a product.
The Green Water Footprint green refers to the consumption of water resources.
The Gray Water Footprint denotes pollution and is defined as the volume of fresh water required to assimilate the load of pollutants, given natural background concentrations and current ambient water quality standards.The water footprint is an indicator of freshwater use that looks at the indirect water use of the consumer or producer.
The ISO 14046 Standard has been developed by ISO, which provides guidance on Calculating the Water Footprint. Businesses can reveal their Water Footprints by working according to the ISO 14046 Standard. In order for the Water Footprint calculated as a result of this process to be accepted internationally, the verification process is carried out by receiving services from the organizations that provide verification services on ISO 14046
Verification of the Water Footprint in accordance with the ISO 14046 standard, to monitor and reduce the water consumption of products and services
Water Footprint represents direct and indirect water consumption for a product, service or a production activity of an organisation.
Its reporting, in accordance with ISO 14046, identifies the elements that contribute the most to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) by allowing you to define the strategies for reducing this consumption, in order to:
- constantly monitor the water consumption associated with your products and services, or your organisation
- identify improvement strategies by identifying the most critical elements in terms of water consumption
- leverage the image and the environmental profile of your company
- benefit from a more transparent relationship with customers.
Water Footprint verification is based on four indicators:
- availability of water resources in quantitative terms
- availability in qualitative terms (e.g. unavailability of water because it is polluted)
- time factors (availability over time)
- spatial factors (availability in the reference territory).
- compilation and submission of the questionnaire for the formulation of the offer
- documentary verification: strategic analysis, risk analysis, evaluation of the inventory, data collection methods, calculation methodologies, communication
- process verification: on-site verification of data acquisition and modelling of calculations performed within the software used for the analysis
- reporting: writing of verification report and preparation of draft verification opinion
- independent file review and decision (following the completion of the verification review, a decision is made whether or not to confirm the organisation’s study).
Questions and Answers
When is the term water footprint applicable?
According to ISO 14046, a company can claim to have reported its water footprint when it has analysed all the associated markers, and not just some of them. By the same token, it must specify the type of the indicators analysed..
What are the possible indicators of the water footprint?
Some possible indicators mentioned in the standard are: water footprint scarcity, water footprint availability, water eutrophication footprint, water ecotoxicity footprint, water acidification footprint.
Does the standard also define requirements for the communication part?
No, ISO 14046 only regulates the quantification aspects. However, a third party report is foreseen.