Embodied water is a measure of the amount of fresh water affected by the creation of a material. It encompasses the entire path from raw material production to final product manufacturing. For metals, the value is a composite of virgin and recycled values, weighted by average global recycling percent. The virgin material value starts at ore extraction, and is higher than the recycled value.
Compared to embodied energy and carbon, embodied water suffers from an additional layer of vagueness. Whereas energy consumption and carbon dioxide generation are specific concepts, the nature of the effect on the affected water is never clearly defined. This is a major limitation that prevents us from being able recommend this value for practical purposes. It is only included to complete the set.