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Australia is one of the driest continents on Earth and at the same time among the world’s highest consumers of water. Increasing drought and water scarcity has recognised the importance of the sustainable use of water resources in Australian cities, farms and industry.

Water conservation is becoming increasingly important in Australia, as large parts of the country face a widening gap between the diminishing supply of water and an increasing demand from a growing population and industry requirements. 

The property, construction and infrastructure industry is in a unique position to influence future water use in Australia. Implementing water conservation measures into designs and developments ensures that significant ongoing cost savings for water users can be achieved – not just now but into the future. 

Responsible developers and contractors are now measuring and reporting on the usage of potable water on site as part of the construction phase, assessing the water footprint of their supply chains and the materials they use, and determining the water efficiency of end-users of the buildings. The National Construction Code includes a range of water-saving requirements and water use targets for residential developments. 
It is crucial that businesses learn to address the water footprint of their suppliers as well as their own water footprint, so as to be able to report accurately on water use through the supply chain. 

The Water Footprint Network (WFN) has published a methodology to quantify water consumption and risks across the value chain using the term water foot printing. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is drafting water footprint requirements and guidelines under ISO 14046 - EnvironmentManagement - Water Footprint.

A product water footprint measures the total volume of freshwater consumed, directly and indirectly, to produce a product. A full water footprint assessment considers the impacts of this water consumption on local watersheds, as well as appropriate response strategies to minimise those impacts.