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TitleWater neutral: reducing and offsetting water footprints
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHoekstra, A.Y.
Secondary TitleValue of water research report series / Unesco-IHE
Volumeno. 28
Pagination36 p. : boxes, fig.
Date Published2008-03-01
PublisherUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsenvironmental impact, sdiwrm, socioeconomic impact, water conservation, water consumption, water resources management, water use
Abstract

This report discusses water footprints and the water-neutral concept. Despite the possible pitfalls and yet unanswered questions, it seems that the water-neutral concept offers a useful tool to bring stakeholders in water management together in order to discuss water reduction targets and mechanisms for the compensation of environmental and social impacts of residual water footprints. However, the concept can only become really effective in the actual contribution to wise management of global water resources when clear definitions and guidelines will be developed. There is a need for scientific rigour in accounting methods and for clear (negotiated) guidelines on the conditions that have to be met before one can speak about water neutrality. Without agreed definitions and guidelines on what is water neutrality, the term is most likely to end up as a catchword for raising funds for charity projects in the water sector. In that context, the term can also fulfil a useful function, but it would be ‘water neutrality’ in its weakest form. It will become a strong concept only when claims towards water-neutrality can be measured against clear standards.

Notes38 ref. – Includes glossary
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