|Title||Life cycle water demands of four horticultural crops in the context of zeolite based pesticide application|
|Author(s)||Helmes, Roel; Brouwer, F.M.; Ferrer, Francesc|
|Source||In: Final EURO-AGRIWAT conference : Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions. - - p. 60 - 60.|
|Event||Final EURO-AGRIWAT conference: Water Footprint of agricultural products: progress, challenges and solutions, Wageningen, 2016-03-07/2016-03-09|
LEI Performance and Impact Agrosectors
LEI Green Economy and Landuse
|Publication type||Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings|
|Abstract||The Framework Program 7 research project ‘Developing a pool of novel and eco-efficient applications of zeolite for the agriculture sector’ (ECOZEO), zeolite based formulations were piloted as a pesticide for four crops: apple, grapes, tomatoes and oranges. A water-focused Life Cycle Assessment was part of the sustainability assessment, investigating how the use of the novel pesticide formulations changes total water demand of the product’s life cycle.
An extensive literature review in LCA and water footprint literature was conducted to compare Water Use LCA and Water Footprinting, in the context of these four crops, and to identify the main factors influencing irrigation water use in these crops. The life cycle water demand was calculated for grapes and apples, comparing a zeolite based formulation with conventional fungicide formulations. This analysis focused on irrigation and the fungicide application.
The review of water usages in the four crops provided the key variables that affect water usage: climate, growing medium or soil type, protection type and cultivar. It was concluded that in specific cases the water footprint data and life cycle water demand are equivalent, and that water demands vary broadly across different cultivation conditions. The results from our calculations support that water use for irrigation dominates the life cycle water demand.
Field measurements are highly relevant to calculate life cycle water demand accurately. Local conditions determine the life cycle water demand so strongly that assessments should be based on local data such as field measurements. We also recommend that improvements in life cycle water demand focus on improving irrigation rather than on the production and formulation of the pesticide. Internal benchmarking is more relevant to stimulate farm improvements in irrigation than benchmarking between farms. Also, it is considered important that scope, system boundaries, impact indicators and a guide to the interpretation of the results are clearly specified.