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Average water footprint per capita per country for the period 1997-2001

Map description and dataset provided by: University of Twente, The Netherlands

DescriptionWater Footprint per Country

Average water footprint per capita per country for the period 1997-2001. Green-colored countries have a water footprint per capita equal to or smaller than the global average; red-colored countries are beyond the global average.


It becomes increasingly relevant to consider the linkages between consumption of people and impacts on freshwater systems. This can improve our understanding of the processes that drive changes imposed on freshwater systems and help to develop policies of wise water governance. The water-footprint concept has been introduced as an indicator that maps the impact of human consumption on global freshwater resources (Hoekstra, 2003). The water footprint of an individual or community is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. A water footprint can be calculated for any well-defined group of consumers, including a family, business, village, city, province, state or nation. The water footprint of a nation shows water use related to consumption within a nation. Traditionally, national water use has been measured as the total freshwater withdrawal for the various sectors of the economy. By contrast, the water footprint shows not only freshwater use within the country considered, but also freshwater use outside the country’s borders. It refers to all forms of freshwater use that contribute to the production of goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of a certain country. The water footprint of the Dutch community, for example, also refers to the use of water for rice production in Thailand (insofar as the rice is exported to the Netherlands for consumption there). Conversely, the water footprint of a nation excludes water that is used within the national territory for producing commodities for export, which are consumed elsewhere.


The dataset for this map was provided by: A.Y. Hoekstra, University of Twente, The Netherlands


The dataset was created within the context of the interdisciplinary research programme “Globalisation of Water”, carried out by the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the University of Twente.


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 33: Water Footprint per Country (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

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