Water productivity and water footprint: misguided concepts or useful tools in water management and policy? uri icon

abstract

  • Water productivity (WP) and water footprint (WFP) are popular concepts in research and discourses on water management. Yet there are concerns about their theoretical validity and practical value. This paper shows that the water production function, the concept with a sound theoretical foundation, is the basis for WP. Total WFP is the reciprocal of WP. The practical value of WP and WFP depends on the context of water use and stress. Maximizing WP, not a panacea to all water problems, mainly suits arid rainfed areas. In other regions, economic and marginal WP for increasing overall production should take precedence in water management and policy decisions
  • Water productivity (WP) and water footprint (WFP) are popular concepts in research and discourses on water management. Yet there are concerns about their theoretical validity and practical value. This paper shows that the water production function, the concept with a sound theoretical foundation, is the basis for WP. Total WFP is the reciprocal of WP. The practical value of WP and WFP depends on the context of water use and stress. Maximizing WP, not a panacea to all water problems, mainly suits arid rainfed areas. In other regions, economic and marginal WP for increasing overall production should take precedence in water management and policy decisions.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014
  • 2014