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Water Footprint of Selected UK Produced and Consumed Products

The aim of this Defra project (WU0120) is to produce, and assess the impact of, water footprints for a range of UK and imported food products.

This work will contribute to Defra’s Food Policy Unit objective to reduce the global impact of UK food consumption and production. The project will prepare volumetric and stress-related water footprints for selected commodities and products and relate these to water consumption and resources in the country of production.

The project has two separate, but linked, areas of investigation:

1. To determine the water footprint of six UK produced agricultural commodities (winter wheat, milk, lamb, potato, sugar beet and strawberry) and relate the water used in production to current water resources. Data will be collected from farms from within Defra’s three Demonstration Test Catchments (Eden, Wensum and Hampshire Avon).

2. To determine and compare the water footprint of selected food products (New Zealand lamb, Israeli potato, Moroccan strawberry and Swaziland sugar cane) which can be produced domestically or imported.

The project started in July 2009 and is of 24 months duration.


Project Team Steering Group
Rob Lillywhite (University of Warwick) Bruno Viegas (Defra)
Mike McKee (University of Warwick) Ruth Pugh (Defra)
Tony Allan (King’s College London) Stuart Orr (WWF)
Ashok Chapagain (WWF) Andy Turner (Environment Agency)
Tim Hess (Cranfield University) Jacob Tomkins (Waterwise)

Brad Ridoutt (CSIRO)

Ian Walsh (Cadbury PLC)

Chris Brown (Asda)

Mary Salmon (Sainsbury’s)