Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 446366
Title Towards a revised planetary boundary for consumptive freshwater use: role of environmental flow requirements
Author(s) Gerten, D.; Hoff, H.; Rockstrom, J.; Jagermeyr, J.; Kummu, M.; Pastor, A.V.
Source Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5 (2013)6. - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 551 - 558.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2013.11.001
Department(s) Earth System Science
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) safe operating space - future - humanity - impacts - food
Abstract We review the conceptual and quantitative foundation of the recently suggested ‘planetary boundary’ for freshwater (PB-Water; i.e. tolerable human ‘blue’ water consumption), and propose ways forward to refine and reassess it. As a key element of such a revision we suggest a bottom-up quantification of local water availabilities taking account of environmental flow requirements. An analysis that respects these requirements in a spatially explicit manner suggests a PB-Water of ~2800 km3 yr-1 (the average of an uncertainty range of 1100–4500 km3 yr-1). This is notably lower than the earlier suggestion based on a simpler top-down analysis (4000 km3 yr-1, the lower value of a range of 4000–6000 km3 yr-1). The new estimate remains provisional, pending further refinement by in-depth analyses of local water accessibility and constraints up-scaled to the global domain, including study of cascading impacts on Earth system properties. With a current blue water consumption of >1700 km3 yr-1, PB-Water is being approached rapidly. Thus, design opportunities to remain within PB-Water are imperative. We argue that their quantification requires analysis of tradeoffs with other planetary boundaries such as those for land use and climate change.
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