A multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual urban water flows to reduce city water footprints in Australia

K. M.Nazmul Islam, Steven J. Kenway, Marguerite A. Renouf, Thomas Wiedmann, Ka Leung Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study focused on understanding what sector-region combinations could be targeted to reduce total city water footprints? We used multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual water, across five Australian capital cities and their supporting regions. The key novelty of this study is the high spatial resolution policy-relevant sub-sectoral analysis to identify sector-region combinations to reduce city water footprints. Virtual water footprints were 8-10 times higher than direct water consumption (per capita) in all studied cities. Virtual water from outside the city boundary is almost 20 times higher than the virtual water sourced from within the city boundary in all studied cities. Water-efficiency programs can significantly reduce the virtual water footprints of the studied cities. This includes water-efficiency and recycling on farm, and in food processing (e.g. livestock feed growing, dairy cattle farming, vegetable growing and processing) in rural regions of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. The results are relevant to strategic city water footprints reduction, sustainable sourcing and planning for future disturbance of product supply, and water-sensitive city developments considering both direct and virtual water flows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103236
Number of pages13
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Input-output model
  • Urban metabolism
  • Water footprint
  • Water resources
  • Water transfers

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