Water use is an essential environmental indicator for all activities in the product life cycle. Based on the pure measure of water quantity used, the associated environmental impacts of both direct and indirect water use are of eminent importance to identify the life cycle based water footprint of corporations (see Köhler, 2008). The UNEP/SETAC Water Assessment Project Group has developed a framework for an integrated assessment of water use in corporations and product value chains (Bayart et al.,2009).
Methodologies are being elaborated for both reporting indicators of water use and the impact assessment evaluating damages on freshwater resources, ecosystems and human health. These approaches distinguish total water use, water consumption (where the water is no longer available in the watershed) and water-quality degradation (where the water is still available but with diminished quality), and are aligned with current LCA methodologies according to ISO 14040:2006.