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Measuring Water Use in a Green Economy

Measuring Water Use in a Green Economy
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). May 2012
  • This report analyses the different ways for quantifying and accounting for water flows and productivity within the economy (including environmental needs). Based on data from the literature, the report provides the current state of knowledge of the different indicators and tools for quantifying water productivity and highlights why this is important for developing robust allocation and management systems that preserve the natural capital. The report focuses on two main elements: 1) the conceptual background and knowledge on how water use puts pressure on the environment; 2) methodologies to quantify water availability and use and how this influences ecosystems. Chapter 2 presents the main concepts and definitions of the different aspects of water used in the economic, policy and scientific literature. The chapter looks at the general concept of decoupling as applied to water and examines various types of policy targets, indicators and the different approaches available to measure water use, efficiency and the environmental impacts on different geographic scales arising from different economic and social activities. In chapter 3, the data and sources of information on water balances globally and within river basins and ecosystems are described, with a view to providing knowledge of how they are derived, and the strengths of a series of common classifications and water reporting processes are analysed. Chapter 4 looks in detail at the various methodologies for quantifying water use and environmental impacts, their underlying assumptions and the context in which they can be effectively used. Chapter 5 summarises the main conclusions of the report. It provides information on how to address decoupling through the adoption of targets and policies on water efficiency, innovation, appropriate market signals, and water rights, so as not to deplete water resources and to increase water productivity.
  • Geographical coverage: Asia, Middle-East, Australia, China, Ghana, Jordan, Netherlands, Singapore, Mississippi River Basin
  • Main themes: Accounting, Economic instruments, Ecosystem services, Green economy, Information and data, Sustainable development, Virtual water, Vulnerability, Water balance, Water footprint, Water governance, Water policy, Water scarcity
  • Main target audience: Decision makers, Financial community, Governments, Policy makers, Project managers, Project planners, Water managers
  • Main purpose: Assessment, Impact evaluation
  • Type of resource: Indicators, Methodology, Recommendations
  • Download file (5.4 MB)
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Published in 2014