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Water scarcity related to crop production for animal feed. Seasonal weighted averages of the water stress index - Ben Pross

The aim of this thesis was to identify the Water Stress Index of feed ingredients applied in animal diets in the Netherlands. Water stress is defined as the total annual freshwater withdrawals to hydrological availability.

Water shortages and poor water quality can threaten a nation’s food security, economic development and quality of life. Water deprivation does not only affect humans, via food and health security, but also other organisms. Nowadays, agricultural processes in the world consume 85% of the global water available. Crop production for animal feed causes enormous water stress in many regions in the world.

Water stress is defined as the total annual freshwater withdrawals to hydrological availability. The Water Stress Index (WSI) accounts for water availability and withdrawal and the WSI may serve as a simple screening indicator for the assessment of water use, accounting for water availability and withdrawals. The WSI values range from 0.01 to 1, the WSI is never 0 as any water use has a marginal local impact. During the year there are dry and wet seasons and consequently water availability changes. This means that seasonality may affect water deprivation. Due to seasonality, evaporation changes throughout the year and during warm seasons water deprivation is a larger problem compared to cold seasons.

The aim of this thesis is to identify the WSI of feed ingredients applied in animal diets in the Netherlands. The WSI of the ingredients is assessed  assuming they are sourced from the three top producing countries of the world or from the countries the Netherlands sources from.

This thesis covers the twenty most important ingredients used by Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and fish feed. These ingredients are assessed for the three top producing countries of the world according to the FAO, as well as for the countries where the Netherlands sources from. The growth seasons were determined using AQUASTAT. To determine the areas of production of all the different countries IFPRI grid data, also known as Spatial Production Allocation Model, has been used. The seasonal weighted WSI of countries were converted into specific crop WSI maps. Four different categories were created to differentiate the WSI levels of the regions.

The Netherlands sources crops and feed ingredients from countries all over the world. For many feed ingredients there are differences between the countries where The Netherlands sources from and the top producing countries. Out of all producing countries only five countries are present in category three and four, and out of these five countries only three are Dutch sources. This means that feed ingredients used in the Netherlands are not mainly produced in water scarce or water deprived areas. However, more information and research is needed to give conclusions about the blue water use in the five countries with large seasonal weighted WSI.



Student: BA Pross

Supervisor: TC Viets

36 Ects