Asama Kumban, Phairat Usubharatana, and Harnpon PhungrassamiThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat School of Engineering, Thammasat University, Thailand. Post Code 12121


Received: May 23, 2022
Accepted: August 8, 2022
Publication Date: March 23, 2023

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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By a significant margin, agriculture in Thailand uses more water than any other industry. Therefore, the impact of water uses on producing both crops and animals is important. Plant-based protein is a potential alternative foodstuff that can ease the pressure on water resources. Further, it is expected to be more water-efficient to obtain equivalent nutritional values including calories, protein, fat, and minerals. This work aimed to determine the water footprint (WF) of five local crops following theWater Footprint Assessment Manual (WFA) framework developed by Hoekstra et al. and further sought to create a comparative case study by correlating nutritional value and potential contribution to water resources. The crops studied in this research comprised soybean, mungbean, peanut, sesame, and sunflower due to their high protein, local availability, and potential ability to be grown in Thailand. The results revealed that peanuts have a WF of as little as 1,789 m3/ton, followed by soybean 2,471 m3/ton, mungbean 2,525 m3/ton, and sunflower 3,936 m3/ton. In terms of blue WF, peanuts require the smallest amount of irrigation among all crops, while sesame seeds consume an unsustainable amount of 5,718 m3/ton, of which 60% is blue WF. As predicted, crops are more water-efficient to obtain equivalent amounts of protein than livestock, especially peanuts, which only require 7 liters of water per gram of protein. Two important watersheds, Chi and Mun, have experienced high-water deprivation shared by diverse crops. Continuing crop cultivation using irrigation water from these watersheds could put excessive strain on watersheds and result in increased competition for fresh water from other sectors.

Keywords: Irrigation water requirement, Mungbean, Peanut, Plant-based protein, Soybean, Water Deprivation

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