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Water Footprint Assessment: innovation tool in Brazilian water governance

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
A. Bridging science and policy
Author(s): Thaís Moreira de Classe
Celso Bandeira de Melo Ribeiro
Wadson Sebastião Duarte da Rocha
Marcelo Henrique Otênio

Thaís Moreira de Classe
UFJF
thaisclasse@outlook.com
Celso Bandeira de Melo Ribeiro
UFJF
celso.bandeira@ufjf.edu.br
Wadson Sebastião Duarte da Rocha
Embrapa
wadson.rocha@embrapa.br
Marcelo Henrique Otênio
Embrapa
marcelo.otenio@embrapa.br


Keyword(s): Water Governance, Water Footprint, Brazilian water management
Article: Oral:

Abstract

Water resources have been on the agenda of regional and global discussions mainly to address important issues such as scarcity, pollution and inefficient use. Brazil is a privileged country in what accounts its water potential, however such availability ends up being misunderstood and culminates in waste and mismanagement. In 2002, with the emerging of the Water Footprint, a different way of interpretation which not only takes in consideration the collected water, but also the precipitated water and polluted water, often neglected by traditional approaches, starts computing these amounts in the water balance.With this approach a more complete and integrated view of water throughout the process and life cycle of products, services, individuals, businesses, governments, etc. is possible.This auspicious method is already being used successfully in private policies at several countries and even acquired acknowledgement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which has published in 2014 the 14046 ISO.In the scope of public policies, the use of this methodology is recommended by FAO and UNESCO and is already being used successfully in a few countries, especially in the European Union. The Law No. 9,433, published on January 8, 1997 takes effect in Brazil. Popularly known as the “Water Law”, established the National Water Resources Policy and the instruments available for its achievement.With continental dimensions that hinders the implementation and enforcement of this policy, Brazil also suffers with the lack of data and information. Up against it, the evaluation of the Water Footprint could be an interesting tool at this time.A research in literature on the technicality of this methodology and law was made regarding the tools that are already being used. It was conclusive that the current water management of the country is consistent with the proposal of use of the Water Footprint evaluation to assist in decisions of the public administration sphere.Correlating the details of the method with each of the water law instruments is possible to perceive that they are fully compatible. Using the methodology as water indicator can fulfill the gap of missing data, originating integrated and standardized information from a current and innovative tool that would bring Brazil to a prominent position in the Americas.Another advantage of the Water Footprint is your easy understanding by the masses with great awareness capacity that can bring consumers closer to the water issues debate.Starting from the Water Footprint value, it is possible to identify and map hotspots, where is higher the water resources abuse and formulate reduction strategies. The water footprint evaluation proves itself as a workable tool with great potential to provide relevant information for decision making. Targeting the occurrence of favorable environmental conditions and the adoption of more efficient mechanisms of water use, perfectly matches the Brazilian legal instruments which validatesas an important result of this work this discussion about using it in public water management in Brazil.

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