Water footprint and food waste “Almost 80% of an individual’s water footprint is food-related”

EsAgua underlines the value of Water Footprint as an indicator for sustainable water use and emphasises the impact of food waste on this indicator. At the Environmental Footprints for Sustainable Agriculture seminars, organised by AENOR and eFoodPrint, held on January 31 in Elche, Naiara Sáenz, Director of Communications and Transfer at Cetaqua, explained the importance of water footprint as an indicator of sustainability in agriculture and its relevance in terms of food waste.

Tasty colorful appetizing ingredients for greek vegetable salad with pasta penne on bright background.

A third of world food productions ends up as waste (1,300 million tonnes per annum, according to the FAO) and this has a direct effect on freshwater scarcity.  According to Water Footprint Network figures, the water footprint in Spain is 6,700 litres per person per day. “Almost 80% of this water consumption is food-related”, Naiara Sáenz pointed out, with meat consumption being the greatest contributor, accounting for 35% of water footprint.

In Spanish homes, we waste the same quantity of food as we consume. According to a study entitled Evaluating the Water Footprint of the Mediterranean and American Diets, carried out by Ceigram, food waste alone accounts for the loss of 131 litres of water per person per day in Spanish homes. This is the same volume of water consumed by a person for domestic use, according to figures from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).

Nonetheless, Sáenz explains that food waste is not just the responsibility of consumers. “In Europe domestic food waste accounts for 33% of total food waste. Where does the rest of the waste come from? The answer is simple. Waste also occurs throughout the food value chain, from when it is gathered, processed at a production plant and distributed to supermarkets and homes.