380171 Water Scarcity Assessment As Part of a Complete Product Life Cycle Assessment, LCA

Monday, November 17, 2014: 9:27 AM
M303 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Sergio Galeano, SERGAL LLC, Peachtree City, GA

                                          November 16-21 2014- Atlanta
                                           Subject Area: Environmental Topics



Water Scarcity  Assessment as  part of a complete product Life Cycle Assessment

Dr. Sergio  F. Galeano, Ph.D., SERGAL LLC.


One issue not properly addressed in product LCA methodology and studies, until recently, is the one related to water availability (scarcity) since in the different sets of  existent impact indicators in use by LCA practitioners it is not listed. Thus there is not a proper link of the risk in the magnitude of additional  water withdrawals  in the life cycle of  a product system in terms of time and the specific basin.  Until now, most LCA studies just mentioned an inventory item, a volumetric figure devoid of  an impact element.

The globally accepted ISO 14044 for LCA of  products albeit not selecting impact categories, provides guidance on requirements  for new impact indicators. With the advent of the recently approved  ISO 14046: 2014, (not issued yet) dedicated to water footprint based on ISO 14044, ideas and efforts to further complete the classical LCIA profile with the additional water availability indicator are emerging.

This paper touches not only in the additional impact indicator for new LCA studies but also how it can be integrated in already completed LCA studies. Based on a recent LCA study of the author, ISO compliant and presented at an international conference, this paper shows how that integration can take place to obtain a more complete and valid LCA study.
The teachings of this paper add value to the LCIA methodology by adding a very desirable and important impact indicator on a resource of importance . Also value is added by making its integration in LCA studies possible for new and existing LCA studies.  Finally, by assessing hydrological considerations of the basin and sub-basin from which withdrawals and replenishments take place it provides needed context  for any further consideration of sustainability  which few impact indicators  provide now. 

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