The global livestock sector currently consumes about 33% of global water withdrawals, primarily for irrigation of feed crops. To understand how the livestock sector can potentially mitigate the impacts of its water use, two factors are critical. First, there are different types of water resources available in the landscape and each have markedly different impacts on the social-ecological landscapes in which they are consumed. Second, increased use of crops for animal feed causes greater competition for water use between the production of feed for animals and food for humans.
This thesis aims to improve our understanding of the effects of water use in a landscape, including both ground, surface and rainwater and to develop and apply a method to better assess such effects of water use associated with livestock production.
It was concluded that estimations of water use in livestock value chains should differentiate between the different types of water, for example rain water or water used for irrigation, and that the water use should be considered in a local context in order to identify potential impacts in the landscape.