Just a quick post with a Sankey diagram for water flows in a hotel. Apprently from a research project called Zer0-M. More images here.

No units for the streams, so I just guess these are litres per hotel guest per day or cubic metres per day. Unicolor, no directed arrows.

The below distribution diagram (aka ‘Spagehetti diagram’) was presented on flowing data. It shows the top 10 nations in regard to freshwater consumption on the left, and the sectors where water is consumed on the right (column “Use”).

The author of the diagram is Jen Christiansen and it was originally published in a Scientific American article by Mark Fischetti.

The unit is million cubic metres per year. Only the absolute water consumption per nation is given, no values for the water consuming activities. Many of the commentators of the post pointed out that a per capita consumption of water would give a different, a “fairer” picture.

I refrain from commenting the content of the graphic. But I like the clear layout with the bands running in parallel and nicely stacked.

Water footprinting has been a hot topic in the last two or three years. Water use for the production of a product, ot the water consumption of an individual, a business, or a nation are referred to as water footprint. A mere volumetric water fooprint is the simplest version, but more elaborate methods for assessing the impact on the water system have also been developed (e.g. Hoekstra, Pfister, Milà i Canals). The water footprint is also finding its way into Life Cycle Assessment with some impact assessment methods being expanded to cover the water issue.

The below is a simple Sankey diagram of embodied water. It has been published on the website of consultancy firm Ceram. Ceram conducted a water use study at the Wienerberger brick production site with a gate-to-gate perspective. So this is far from being a full water footprint, as it covers only the processes on-site, but nevertheless it is one of the first examples of a Sankey diagram being applied in that domain. [Anyone knows of other water footprint Sankey diagram examples, please let me know.]

There are no absolute values, but only percentage shares of water intake, water embodied in the product and evaporation. Only a small fraction of the water contained in the (wet) brick mass remains in the final bric (2.4%) with the larges fraction evaporating in the drying process.

Consumption of water resources in arid and semi-arid areas has become an important issue over the last years. The Wafeer water conservation project is trying to raise awareness and educate people in Saudi-Arabian industry in regard to the efficient use of water. On page 21 of their Water Efficiency Manual, the following Sankey diagram can be found:

The report describes that “Sankey diagrams enable visual representation of both quantitative and qualitative characteristics of water entering and leaving different activities and therefore serve as a good communication aid.”

The above diagram does not show any unit, but presumably is meant to be in cubic metres (per year?). It shows water (blue) and waste water (grey) flows, as well as evaporation losses (red).

More water Sankey diagrams of similar style can be found on pages 19 through 23 in this workshop presentation on ‘The Importance of and Difficulties in Water Accounting’.

A recent report prepared by Kumar, Subramanyam and Kabir of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton describes “Development of Energy, Emission and Water Flow Sankey Diagrams for the Province of Alberta Through Modeling”. Canada has been underrepresented with Sankey diargams on this blog, I feel. But the numerous Sankey diagrams on water and energy really compensates for this lag: I counted 12 more or less beautiful Sankey diagrams. Here is an example:

This is for the energy consumption in Alberta. Flows are in PJ (not sure which year they refer to). There are also several Sankey diagrams in this report for the water catchment areas of rivers (pp. 27-34).

Download the full report here (caution 6.5 MB PDF)

From Fei-Ling Tseng’s design blog comes this Sankey diagram. Her post is on some visualizations and infographics done for a project on water economies/ecologies of the Colorado River water system.

The diagram shows the distribution of water from the Colorado river to different lower basin states (Nevada, Arizona, California), “export” to Mexico and a breakdown to irrigation areas within California. The quantities are in acre feet (a.f.). Underlying data is from the Colorado River Accounting and Water Use Report 2009.

Simple, beautiful, conveying the message … and a single white water-drop as catchy design element.

A reader of the blog, submitted the below Sankey diagrams on waterflows in the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands.

Wies writes about these:

The left chart is the actual Multi Input – Multi Output analysis. There are some irregularities and inefficiencies. Therefore we made the chart on the right showing some design proposals. These are not really related to exact quantitative in or output, it’s a bit more freeminded, so no numbers are included here.
We also tried to combine the actual flows of water with the bodies of water (troposphere in the air, the bulk of ground water in the ground)

The report that contains the two diagrams can be found here. Check out p. 22 of the PDF.

Thanks for sharing this!

Austrian consulting company Stenum has revamped their Sankey Editor 2008 website a little bit, and they added new sample Sankey diagrams. The ones shown below are for the water flows of an electro-plating factory before and after optimization.



The diagram is in German, but I can understand as much as this: All flows are in cubic metres. Apart from the hydrogen peroxide flow entering from the top the flows shown all run from the source (water supply) to the sink (waste water treatment), the nodes in the middle (flushing, backflushing?) are the actual breakdown of the water flows. These nodes are adapted to the arrow width – a nice feature.

On top of that, blue seems the right choice for both water and H2O2 flows.