The water footprint (WF) is an indicator of freshwater use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint is defined as the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. Water use is measured in terms of water volumes consumed (evaporated or incorporated into a product) and/or polluted per unit of time. (WFN, 2014).
In this abstract we present a Water Footprint Assessment developed to account WF related to the production of soybean (Glycine max) based on globally available data. We applied the methodology in the Tapajos River, an Amazonian region in Brazil where a large expansion of soybean in deforested areas has taken place and production has been intensified in the last decades (LathuilliÃ¨re et al., 2014). We identified hotspots (potential unsustainable areas) according to the Water Footprint Network methodology (WFN, 2014) and calculated WF with globally available current data (2010). The WF was spatially plotted along the river basin with ArcGIS in order to assess the current impact of soybean expansion (baseline). We also calculated potential areas of change in WF 2050 projection by using a land use change scenario (Ssp5 scenario) that includes climate change effects (Van Eupen et al., 2013).
Preliminary results indicate that soybean expansion is threatening sustainability locally. Results show an average increase in the Tapajos river basin WF values in 2050 projection in comparison to baseline WF results. The values are remarkably higher in the North-East and South-East of the basin, which coincide with areas where more agricultural fields and more roads are concentrated. This increase will affect nature protected areas, showing the potential conflict between soybean expansion and nature protection.