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Evaluation of the Concepts of Virtual Water and Water Footprint in Water Resources Management: A Case Study of Soybean and Soybean Oil

Author(s): Luziadne Kotsuka; Tobias Bleninger

Linked Author(s): Tobias Bleninger

Keywords: Water Footprint; Virtual Water; Soybeans.Soybeans oil

Abstract: The concepts of Virtual Water (AV) and Water Footprint (WF) have been used as important indicators of water consumption and their acceptance in literature is increasing. Virtual Water means the water embedded in final products and Water Footprint means the water required to manufacture a product. The WF is divided into three components: Green, Blue and Grey. The Blue WF refers to the resource consumption of surface water and groundwater, Green WF is about the water from rain or soil moisture and Grey WF refers to the volume of water required to dilute the pollutant load. In order to apply those concepts for water resource management, qualitative and quantitative aspects were analyzed in a case study, to estimate the Water Footprint of an agricultural product (soybeans) and a manufactured product (soybean oil) using the methodology WFN-Water Footprint Network. The results indicated that, on average, the WF of the soybeans cultivated in the region of Maringá, state of Paraná, is 2209. 4 m³/t, in which 1792. 7 m³/t of Green Water Footprint and 416. 7 m³/t of Grey Water Footprint. The soybean oil WF produced in Araucaria, also located in state of Paraná, is 6201 m³/t. Virtual Water quantification flow due to imports and exports of soybeans and soybean oil in Brazil resulted in the amount of 80 billion cubic meters of virtual water transported per year. Based on the results of evaluation concepts of Virtual Water and Water Footprint in Brazilian water resources management, it was verified the compatibility of that tool with the concepts present in water resources management in force in Brazil. Regarding the instrument of permitting, it was observed that the Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint are used to provide permits for water use for agricultural irrigation. The Water Footprint tool is easy to use, understanding, and proved efficient for determining water consumption. The methodology obtained reliable results and even with cultural and climatic differences, the results are close to those found in other studies by researchers.


Year: 2015

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