Peter Gleick asks: Is the U.S. Reaching Peak Water? To that end the Pacific Institue also employs water footprint assessment.
from the article by Peter Gleick (9 July 2013, Forbes):
"The specter of "peak oil"—a peaking and then decline in oil production—has long been predicted and debated, and peak U.S. oil production occurred forty years ago.
But the concept of "peak water" and its implications for the U.S. economy are less well explored and understood."
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Peter Gleick states that new thinking about water management (and indeed, the management of resources overall) could further strengthen the U.S. economy without increasing our impacts on the environment or our costs for resource extraction and use. Along those lines Peter Gleick's group at the Pacific Institue has worked out an Assessment of California's Water Footprint, which provides additional information regarding freshwater appropriation and aids in devising strategies for sustainable, efficient and equitable freshwater management:
The Pacific Institute has (a while ago) released the first comprehensive assessment of California's water footprint, providing an important perspective on the interconnections between everyday activities and impacts to water resources - both at home and around the world.
California's total water footprint is an estimated 64 million acre-feet of water. That's more than double the amount of water that flows down both of the state's two largest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, in an average year. An estimated 38 million acre-feet of water is used to produce goods and services within California. Half of that water is used for goods that are then exported and consumed outside the state. The remainder - about 19 million acre-feet of water - is used to produce goods that are consumed in California. An additional 44 million acre-feet of water is required to produce the goods and services that are imported into California and consumed here, making California a net importer of virtual water.
"Most of California's water footprint is external, meaning that Californians are more dependent on water resources from other places than in-state."
"Evaluating the water footprint can be valuable for water managers, policymakers, and for concerned members of the public," said Heather Cooley, co-director of the Pacific Institute Water Program. "It can highlight new leverage points for reducing water impacts and creating a more sustainable society - for example, with policies that consider the environmental implications of various trade regimes, or educational programs to help individuals and institutions make better decisions about their consumption habits. It can also help companies evaluate their vulnerability to water resource concerns throughout their supply chain. Ongoing water footprint work will provide more contextualized information for citizens, businesses, government, and other stakeholders in California's water future."
To find out more and to read the full report, visit