One-third of the world's countries are threatened by a shortage of water. To ensure all people have access to clean water, from a global perspective, we need to achieve more efficient water use and avoid over-extraction from risk areas. We also need to minimise contamination of water sources.
Production of 1 kg of wheat in Sweden requires a total of about 1,000-1,500 litres of water, with the absolute majority in the cultivation stage. The water footprint from the cultivation of wheat varies from country to country depending on climate, cultivation method and irrigation. The global average is about 2,000 litres, with irrigation (blue water) constituting a large proportion of this. Swedish grain farming has a much smaller water footprint and normally takes place with normal rainfall (green water). Other comparisons are 290 litres for 1 kg of potatoes, 2,500 litres for 1 kg of rice and 15,500 litres for 1 kg of beef. See references at the bottom*
Water use in our own activities
Approximately 2 million m3 water, mostly from municipal water supply, is used annually in Lantmännens production facilities.
Since 2011, we conduct an annual risk analysis of water availability in the catchment areas where Lantmännen has production facilities or workshops. The vast majority of our facilities are located in areas with a low risk of water shortage. Measures for efficient use of water are regularly conducted at our facilities as part of the resource management process. The facilities that have water-impacting emissions follow the control programmes required under the permit.
Impact on water quality – mainly eutrophication in the cultivation stage
Losses of nutrients from agricultural land affect water sources in the catchment area. Lantmännen has been working for some time to reduce eutrophication by developing and offering products and services for optimised cultivation. Two examples are plant advisory services and N-sensor for optimised nitrogen fertilization. We also participate in several collaborations for optimised cultivation, including Cultivation in balance and Focus on nutrients.
*Sources: Beef: Hoekstra, A.Y., Chapagain, A.K., 2007. Water footprints of nations: water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern. Water Resource Management 21, 35e48. Potatoes: Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2011) The green, blue and grey water footprint of crops and derived crop products, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15(5): 1577-1600. Rice: Chapagain, A.K. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2011) The blue, green and grey water footprint of rice from production and consumption perspectives, Ecological Economics, 70(4): 749-758.