Review and classification of indicators of green water availability and scarcity
- Twente Water Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
Abstract. Research on water scarcity has mainly focussed on blue water (ground- and surface water), but green water (soil moisture returning to the atmosphere through evaporation) is also scarce, because its availability is limited and there are competing demands for green water. Crop production, grazing lands, forestry and terrestrial ecosystems are all sustained by green water. The implicit distribution or explicit allocation of limited green water resources over competitive demands determines which economic and environmental goods and services will be produced and may affect food security and nature conservation. We need to better understand green water scarcity to be able to measure, model, predict and handle it. This paper reviews and classifies around 80 indicators of green water availability and scarcity, and discusses the way forward to develop operational green water scarcity indicators that can broaden the scope of water scarcity assessments.