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Water requirements by livestock in Europe


The JRC released a series of maps of water requirements by livestock in Europe. They were published in the Ecosystem Services journal.

JRC scientists described an approach for calculating the water requirements of a sub-sector of agriculture: livestock, including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and goats. The context of this study is the understanding and forecasting of water balances, by estimating the net water availability taking into consideration the amount of water removed from rivers or aquifers for different sectors.

The results are in form of maps of water consumption by livestock, computed for two dates: January 1 (figure top), and July 1 (figure bottom).

The maps show that water consumption by livestock in Northern Europe is almost as high as that consumed for irrigation purposes.

Daily maps representing livestock water requirements were input into the JRC’s LISFLOOD hydrological model, along with other sector-specific water requirement maps. LISFLOOD then calculated water availability on a daily basis considering biophysical factors such as climate and land use/cover.

The work presented was used for the policy impact assessment that preceded the communication of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources, and will also contribute to the water accounting exercise as described in the EU's Biodiversity Strategy and for computation of environmental indicators in the frame of modelling activities in support to the Resource Efficiency Roadmap.

 

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