Life cycle water demands of four horticultural crops in the context of zeolite based pesticide application

Roel Helmes, F.M. Brouwer, Francesc Ferrer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

The Framework Program 7 research project ‘Developing a pool of novel and eco-efficient applications of zeolite for the agriculture sector’ (ECOZEO), zeolite based formulations were piloted as a pesticide for four crops: apple, grapes, tomatoes and oranges. A water-focused Life Cycle Assessment was part of the sustainability assessment, investigating how the use of the novel pesticide formulations changes total water demand of the product’s life cycle.
An extensive literature review in LCA and water footprint literature was conducted to compare Water Use LCA and Water Footprinting, in the context of these four crops, and to identify the main factors influencing irrigation water use in these crops. The life cycle water demand was calculated for grapes and apples, comparing a zeolite based formulation with conventional fungicide formulations. This analysis focused on irrigation and the fungicide application.
The review of water usages in the four crops provided the key variables that affect water usage: climate, growing medium or soil type, protection type and cultivar. It was concluded that in specific cases the water footprint data and life cycle water demand are equivalent, and that water demands vary broadly across different cultivation conditions. The results from our calculations support that water use for irrigation dominates the life cycle water demand.
Field measurements are highly relevant to calculate life cycle water demand accurately. Local conditions determine the life cycle water demand so strongly that assessments should be based on local data such as field measurements. We also recommend that improvements in life cycle water demand focus on improving irrigation rather than on the production and formulation of the pesticide. Internal benchmarking is more relevant to stimulate farm improvements in irrigation than benchmarking between farms. Also, it is considered important that scope, system boundaries, impact indicators and a guide to the interpretation of the results are clearly specified.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFinal EURO-AGRIWAT conference : Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions
Subtitle of host publicationbook of abstracts
Pages60-60
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventFinal EURO-AGRIWAT conference: Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions - Orion Building, Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 7 Mar 20169 Mar 2016
http://edepot.wur.nl/380126

Conference

ConferenceFinal EURO-AGRIWAT conference: Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions
CountryNetherlands
CityWageningen
Period7/03/169/03/16
Internet address

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    Helmes, R., Brouwer, F. M., & Ferrer, F. (2016). Life cycle water demands of four horticultural crops in the context of zeolite based pesticide application. In Final EURO-AGRIWAT conference : Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions: book of abstracts (pp. 60-60)