Water Resour. Res. http://doi.org/ckww (2018)
Fresh water is an important input to the production of goods and services of any economy, yet little information is available about water use at specific locations and in different economic sectors for most countries. Detailed water-use data could facilitate the implementation of effective water-saving solutions for countries to achieve a more sustainable use of water resources.
With an approach combining a water-footprint (WF) method and input–output techniques, Landon Marston of the University of Urbana-Champaign and Kansas University, USA, and colleagues calculated the WF of over 500 products from the food, energy, services, manufacturing and mining sectors, made in the United States. They found that overall, the US economy uses an amount of water equivalent to one and a half times the volume of Lake Erie, America’s fifth largest fresh-water lake. They conclude that 94% of US industries could reduce the total WF more by switching to water-efficient suppliers along their supply chain than by improving water efficiency in their own operations.