Knowledge for better food systems

Life cycle assessment of tap water: Analysis and comparison with other beverages

The report Life cycle assessment of tap water: Analysis and comparison with other beverages traces the entire life cycle from water catchment/extraction to serving it up in a glass. The report compares tap water with mineral water and other beverages and shows (unsurprisingly) that from an environmental point of view, tap water is preferable to bottled water and all other beverages. The report was produced by ESU Services – a sustainability consulting firm and commissioned by the Swiss Gas and Water Association (SVGW) in 2014.

Abstract

Drinking water is a basic necessity. We should drink at least two litres a day. But how can we satisfy this basic need in a manner that is as environmentally friendly as possible? What contribution can tap water make in this context? This is the topic of an in-depth study commissioned by the Swiss Gas and Water Association (SVGW). This study traces the entire life cycle from water catchment/extraction to serving it up in a glass in a life cycle assessment (LCA). Tap water is compared with mineral water and other beverages. The study shows that from an environmental point of view, tap water is preferable to bottled water as a beverage.

Citation

Jungbluth N. and Keller R. (2014) Life cycle assessment of tap water: Analysis and comparison with other beverages.

Read the full report here. This LCA report about tap water and mineral water was addressed in several media articles.

See also more resources in our research library by searching for the Key words Water+ LCA.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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