Definition of a general framework for assessing water use in Life Cycle Assessment


START DATE: April 2008
STATUS: Completed
DURATION: 23 months

PROJECT LEADER: Jean-Baptiste Bayard

Cécile BULLE (CIRAIG); Louise DESCHENES (CIRAIG); Manuele MARGNI (CIRAIG); Stephan PFISTER (ETH Zurich); François VINCE (Veolia); Annette KOEHLER (ETH Zurich).

Emmanuelle AOUSTIN (Veolia); Pablo ARENA (Universidad Tecnológica Nacional-Facultad Regional Mendoza;) Ronnie JURASKE (ETH Zurich); Christian BAUER Markus BERGER (TU Berlin); Rolf FRISCHKNECHT (ESU Services); Mark HUIJBREGTS (Radboud University); Sébastien HUMBERT (Quantis); An de SCHRYVER (Pré Consultant); Rosalie VAN ZELM (Radboud University); Bo WEIDEMA (ecoinvent); Anne-Marie BOULAY (CIRAIG).

DELIVERABLE: A framework for assessing off-stream freshwater use in LCA

Bayart, J. B.; Bulle, C.; Deschenes, L.; Margni, M.; Pfister, S.; Vince, F.; Koehler, A. «A framework for assessing off-stream freshwater use in LCA» International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 2010, 15, 439-453


This paper aims to develop a framework to support further quantitative modeling of the cause–effect chain relationships of water use. The framework includes recommendations for life cycle inventory (LCI) modeling and provides a description of possible impact pathways for life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), including indicators on midpoint and endpoint levels that reflect different areas of protection (AoP).

Review of methods addressing freshwater use in life cycle inventory and impact assessment


START DATE: June 2009
STATUS: Completed
DURATION: 36 months

PROJECT LEADER: Anna Kounina (Quantis)

Manuele Margni (Quantis); Jean-Baptiste Bayart (Veolia); Anne-Marie Boulay (CIRAIG); Markus Berger (Technische Universität Berlin); Cecile Bulle (CIRAIG); Rolf Frischknecht (ESU Service Ltd); Annette Koehler (PE international); Llorenc Mila-i-Canals (Unilever); Masaharu Motoshita (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology); Montserrat Núñez (LBE-INRA); Gregory Peters (Chalmers University of Technology); Stephan Pfister (ETH); Brad Ridoutt (CSIRO); Rosalie van Zelm (Radboud University); Francesca Verones (ETH); Sebastien Humbert (Quantis).

Adisa Azapagic (University of Manchester); Damien Arbault (CRP Henri Tudor); Emmanuelle Aoustin (Quantis) Jane Bare (EPA); Enrico Benetto (CRP Henri Tudor); Michael Boesch (Aveny); Marlia Hanafiah (Radboud University); Arjen Hoekstra (WFN); Tereza Levova (Ecoinvent); Sven Lundie (PE); Sonia Valdivia (UNEP); Samuel Vionnet (Quantis).

DELIVERABLE: Review of methods addressing freshwater use in life cycle inventory and impact assessment.

Kounina, A., M. Margni, et al. (2013). "Review of methods addressing freshwater use in life cycle inventory and impact assessment." The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 18(3): 707-721.


This work reviewed several methods describing the inventory and impact assessment of freshwater use potentially applicable in LCA. This review is used as a base to identify the key elements to build a scientific consensus for an operational characterization method for LCA.

Quantitative comparison of methodologies for assessing water use impacts in LCA, at the midpoint (stress indicators) and endpoint in human health


START DATE: May 2012
STATUS: under review
DURATION: 12-24 months


Cécile BULLE (CIRAIG); Helen FRANCESCHINI (Unilever); Manuele MARGNI (CIRAIG); Masaharu MOTOSHITA (Japan); Ivan MUNOZ (Unilever); Stephan PFISTER (ETH Zurich).

Jean-Baptiste Bayart (Quantis)

Boulay A-M, Motoshita M, Pfister S, Bulle C, Muñoz I, Franceschini H, et al. 2014. Analysis of water use impact assessment methods (part a): Evaluation of modeling choices based on a quantitative comparison of scarcity and human health indicators. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment:1-22.

Boulay, A.-M., Bayart, J.-B., Bulle, C., Franceschini, H., Motoshita, M., Muñoz, I., Pfister, S., et al. (2013). Water impact assessment methods analysis (Part B): Applicability for water footprinting and decision making with a laundry case study. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Under review.

This paper is divided into two parts and aims to broaden the understanding of existing water use impact assessment methods and their applicability within a water footprint study. Part A focuses on identifying relevant modeling choices to analyze the main differences between water impact assessment methods and assess their overall variability and model uncertainty. Part B illustrates the applicability of water footprint methods through a case study and discusses the methods’ consistency, reliability and limitations for decision making. Sensitivity analyses on the case study were selected based on relevant modeling choices determined in part A.

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