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Assessing water footprint in a wine appellation: A case study for Ribeiro in Galicia, Spain

Villanueva-Rey, P., Quinteiro, P., Vázquez-Rowe, I., Rafael, S., Arroja, L., Moreira, M.T., Feijoo, G., Dias, A.C.
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.172 pp. 2097-2107
case studies, emissions, energy use and consumption, freshwater, grapes, models, pesticides, water footprint, water shortages, winemaking, wines, Spain
The water footprint profile was analyzed for grape used in vinification in the Ribeiro appellation (Spain) for the period 2000–2009. The ISO 14046 framework was followed to address the quantitative —freshwater scarcity— and qualitative —degradation— water-related impacts from a life cycle perspective. The timeline perspective allowed the analysis of the fluctuation of impacts for this kind of product. For the quantitative blue water-related impacts, the Available WAter REmaining (AWARE) method was implemented to assess the freshwater scarcity impacts, being the selection of characterization factors (CFs) essential to establish the main impact contributors, especially for direct water consumption at spatial scale. Blue water scarcity impact results varied considerably during the period assessed, mainly due to changes in the harvest yield. The impact results obtained from the AWARE method were compared with the results obtained with other water-related impact assessment methods —water stress index and water depletion. The results for both share the same trends as the AWARE method, with direct water consumption representing 30%–40% of the total contributions throughout the assessed period. The green water scarcity footprint was also evaluated, showing that there are perturbations in the production of surface blue water and green moisture recycled to the atmosphere. The sensitivity analysis on green water CFs showed high variations in green water scarcity footprint results, highlighting the relevance of deriving spatially differentiated and crop-specific green water CFs to assess real water consumption impacts on crop fields properly. On-field emissions were the primary responsible for water degradation impacts; in particular, those resulting from fuel consumption, pesticides application and fertilization. The sensitivity analysis conducted for pesticides emissions highlighted the necessity of a consensus dispersion model to address them.