The water footprint concept as an adaptation mechanism to cope with water shortages in the sugar industry in Swaziland : A case study of the Usuthu River Basin

Sugar production is Swaziland's largest industry and uses over 95 % of the available water for irrigation. The water footprint concept is a standardised methodology, now accredited as an ISO standard which involves following set procedures and protocols of measuring and monitoring water use. The research assesses the application of this standard within Illovo sugar company in Swaziland and compares Illovo’s water management practices with those of other sugarcane growers in the Usuthu basin. An assessment is made on whether applying water footprint methodology aligns with an adaptive management approach and encourages sustainable water use. Recommendations are then made on how water footprint application can influence current water management practices and lead to overall sustainable water use in the sugar industry.