The water footprint is a multidimensional indicator that quantifies the potential environmental impacts related to water, in terms of quantity (in volumes) and qualitative, considering both direct and indirect consumption of water and approach to life cycle (concept of "virtual water ").
In a general context of increasing water stress, and with particular reference to the problems of exploitation and pollution of the water in Italy, the water footprint (WF) is proposed as a useful means of:
- quantify and communicate environmental impacts
- optimize the management of water resources and production processes
The reference standard is the ISO 14046 "Environmental management: Water footprint- Principles, requirements and guidelines", published in August 2014, setting out the principles, requirements and guidelines on the assessment of the WF of products, processes and organizations based the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment).