Water’s role in a circular food system

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Water is one of our greatest but finite resources and as such should be treated with special care. The framework for Community action in the field of water policy by the European Commission (Directive 2000/60/EC) states that water should be treated as heritage which needs to be protected. Water can vary in salinity, nutrient levels and levels of contamination (microbiological and/or chemical). For food production as well as for nature conservation, water plays a crucial role. In order to protect our fresh water sources from depletion, we need to reduce, reuse and recycle water in the most efficient way. Safeguard the future of our food supply and to prevent water from running out, the role of water in a circular food system needs to be made transparent. This report is innovative as it aims to open the dialogue about water’s role in a circular food system. Which types of waters could be identified from a circular perspective and to what extend do these interact with each other? The subdivision into green, blue and grey found in literature is enlightening, but falls short of giving a complete circular perspective. These three colours of water often represent a footprint approach related to one product (e.g. to produce one kilogram coffee requires x litres of fresh water). In this report a first exploration towards circular use is made to include nature in the analysis in addition to food production analysis. In order to broaden the dialogue of the representation of the world’s potential circular use of water, we have added six colours.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationYerseke
PublisherWageningen Marine Research
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Marine Research


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