We’ve all been told we need to watch our carbon footprint in order to save the world, right? How many of us have considered our water footprint?
Your water footprint is basically the amount of water it took to produce the items or goods you consume per year. This includes each drop of water it takes to grow the banana plant your fruit came from, to water the cotton it takes to produce your T-shirt, to the amount of water it takes to make the paper you write on every day.
Only 3 percent of water on Earth is available in the form of freshwater, and our impact on these systems “can ultimately be linked to our consumption,” says Waterfootprint.org. The site says that watching our water footprint can help ease issues like our pollution impact and worldwide water shortages (Discover Magazine reports that 1.1 billion people don’t have access to freshwater at all!).
We’ve grown up learning that it’s environmental to take shorter showers or to turn the water off when we’re brushing our teeth. While these are definitely good habits to promote, it ignores the fact that it takes 6,340 gallons of “virtual water,” as Discover Magazine calls it, to produce a leather bag from beginning to end.
The point is, we use water more water for agriculture.. growing the plants it takes to feed people and produce consumer goods.. not for drinking or bathing.
Check out the water footprint on a few items, according to Waterfootprint.org:
250 mL cup of beer: 75 L of water, mostly to produce the barley
1 100 g apple: 70 L of water
1 cup of apple juice: 190 L of water
1 kg chicken meat: 3900 L of water
1 kg beef: 15500 L of water
.. just a few numbers to keep in mind. You can calculate your own water footprint by clicking here.