The Water Footprint of the United States

Megan Konar, Landon Marston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper commemorates the influence of Arjen Y. Hoekstra on water footprint research of the United States. It is part of the Special Issue “In Memory of Prof. Arjen Y. Hoekstra”. Arjen Y. Hoekstra both inspired and enabled a community of scholars to work on understanding the water footprint of the United States. He did this by comprehensively establishing the terminology and methodology that serves as the foundation for water footprint research. His work on the water footprint of humanity at the global scale highlighted the key role of a few nations in the global water footprint of production, consumption, and virtual water trade. This research inspired water scholars to focus on the United States by highlighting its key role amongst world nations. Importantly, he enabled the research of many others by making water footprint estimates freely available. We review the state of the literature on water footprints of the United States, including its water footprint of production, consumption, and virtual water flows. Additionally, we highlight metrics that have been developed to assess the vulnerability, resiliency, sustainability, and equity of sub-national water footprints and domestic virtual water flows. We highlight opportunities for future research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3286
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 23 2020


  • Arjen Y. Hoekstra
  • United States
  • Virtual water
  • Water footprints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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