Present and future global availability and scarcity of land with sufficient green water resources for agricultural production: The potential of green water for reducing agricultural blue water consumption

Short project description

Agricultural water consumption is dominated by ‘green water’ (rainwater from soil moisture) as opposed to ‘blue water’ (irrigation water withdrawn from surface- or groundwater). Though, research and debate on freshwater scarcity always focus on blue water, because there is a clearly expressed ‘demand’ and blue water can be ‘supplied’. Green water resources are vital though, and limited, so measuring availability and scarcity is critical. This research aims to contribute to the scientific understanding of green water scarcity by exploring and applying new comprehensive definitions of green water availability, consumption and scarcity and assessing these variables on a global scale at high spatial and temporal resolution for the present situation and future scenarios, with an initial case study for China. Furthermore, the study will quantify to which extent increased production from rain-fed lands can reduce demand for blue water resources.

Persons involved

Joep Schyns MSc (PhD student)

dr. ir. Martijn J. Booij (daily supervisor at UT)

prof. dr. ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra (promotor)

Publications [see ‘Publications’ for PDF-file or request free hard copy]

Schyns, J.F., Hoekstra, A.Y. and Booij, M.J., 2015. Review and classification of indicators of green water availability and scarcity. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences , 19, 4581–4608.