Water footprint assessment framework for grapes


By Lucinda Heyns

New Winetech funded project 2018 - The overall aim of this project will be to integrate various datasets into a framework that will simplify Water Footprint (WF) assessments, with a specific focus on grape production and its derived products. Knowledge of water footprints allows for benchmarking and can help to identify areas in the production chain where improvements can be made where it will have the biggest impact on reducing water use.

The WF can be seen as an indicator of sustainability.  It indicates the amount of water used to produce each of the goods and services used.  The WF can be measured for a single process, such as growing grapes, for a product, such as a bottle of wine, or for an entire company/winery.

Remote sensing provides new tools for global WF assessment and represents an innovative approach to regional and global irrigation mapping, enabling the estimation of green and blue water use at a range of spatial and temporal scales.  Information related to land use/crop type and the water balance, derived from remote sensing has long been useful in global applications, since it provides physically-based data over extensive areas and can be seen as consistently produced spatial information. This type of information as well as machine learning algorithms will hold value for WF assessment for agricultural and water related applications.

If this project is successful, it will provide (a) guidelines to the wine industry for determining WFs at different scales and (b) a framework for integrating remote sensing derived, geospatial and other datasets for determining WFs at different levels.

Researcher: Dr C Jarmain


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