Water footprinting: a very new tool
The water footprint of a product is calculated on the basis of the amount of water that has been needed throughout its manufacturing chain. As Beatriz Padillo explains in her article “Huella hídrica: indicador del agua que consumimos”, the water footprint is a calculation that was invented in 2002 by the sadly deceased Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra of the UNESCO Institute for Water Education.
He defined the water footprint as the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by an individual or a community.
DeepDrop® devices convert traditional irrigation systems into underground and localised irrigation systems in an agile and economical way, making use of the surface irrigation infrastructure.
Water footprint calculation
In the calculation of the water footprint, 3 different types of water are weighted:
- The blue water corresponding to the fresh water resources needed to manufacture a product or provide a service. O lo que es lo mismo:the volume of freshwater consumed from surface water (rivers, lakes and reservoirs) and groundwater (aquifers)
- Green water addresses the evaporation experienced during processing, the volume of water evaporated and transpired from global green water resources (mainly rainwater stored in the agricultural soil as moisture during the growing season of crops).
- Grey water refers to water that is contaminated as a result of the processes. In this case, the quantity of water that is necessary to dilute the pollutants in order to maintain or exceed the water quality levels required by current regulations is estimated.
Water footprint of an avocado farm with a DeepDrop® irrigation system
As an example, we will take a small area of a farm with 140 avocado trees. We exclusively calculate the water requirements for the production of a plantation of such avocado trees corresponding to blue water, from planting to harvesting in one year’s crop. As far as green water is concerned, since the farm is located in Malaga, this last year we can say that it has suffered great droughts.
The DeepDrop® devices were planted on this small farm from the start of planting in 2019. The following shows the evolution of the growth of these trees from year to year, from 2019 to 2022:
Water footprint results in 2022 with the use of DeepDrop® drippers:
Water footprint in 2022 with the use of DeepDrop® drippers:
Production in 2022
3000 kg avocados
1000 cubic metres
Water footprint per kg of avocado
We see that these 333 litres contrast with the results presented in an article in Revista Mercados in March 2022, which describes the following data:
“The implementation of improvements in the cultivation processes of the so-called “fruit of life” have resulted in the amount of water needed to produce one kilo of avocado being around 600 litres, according to the World Avocado Organisation (WAO).”
Therefore, taking into account these data provided by the World Avocado Organisation, the DeepDrop® devices achieve a reduction of up to 44.5% of the water footprint, which means a very significant reduction in water use.
Sometimes a small improvement to an existing system can make a big difference. If it is also done with a personalised irrigation plan for each farm and type of tree, as described in the previous article. “A commitment to rationalising water use”., this improvement can be tracked from year to year and the effectiveness of the improvement can be easily monitored.
In times of drought like these, DeepDrop® is an agile, effective and efficient response to save water in the fields and, in turn, ensure that agricultural production is not so threatened by the lack of water and the effects of climate change.
Even so, at DeepDrop® System we continue to study the optimisation of water resources with the use of our localised irrigation system in order to take stock of all the benefits we obtain with its implementation. And we do it in collaboration with the Laboratory of Geomorphology and Soils of the Institute of Habitat, Territory and Digitalisation of the University of Malaga.