What you should know about your WATER FOOTPRINT.
We hear a lot these days about our carbon footprint and most of us understand that there are lots of ways we can impact the environment positively or negatively depending on how we choose to lead our lives. Awareness is the first hurdle to changing human behavior when it comes to protecting our world and the future we all will have here. If you have a good grasp on the kind of carbon footprint you are making, now you can take your good world citizenship a step further and learn more about the impact you are personally making on the earth’s water supply. The more you know, the more you can do to actively reduce your water footprint.
What is a water footprint?
A water footprint is the total of all water we consume. It’s more than just what you use to drink, brush your teeth, wash dishes, or flush the toilet. Water use touches almost every aspect of our lives, including all the goods we consume and the services we use. It’s called embodied water – or the water it takes to produce food products, clothing, furniture, packaging, housing, energy, transportation, etc. In fact, only five percent of the water we use – runs through the taps, toilets, and garden hoses at our homes. Nearly 95 percent of our water footprint is hidden. The more we learn to save, the more water we leave for healthy ecosystems and a sustainable future.
• It takes nearly 13 gallons of water to produce a gallon of gasoline.
• The average American uses around 2,000 gallons of H2O a day, twice the global average.
• A serving of poultry takes about 90 gallons of water to produce.
• A Quarter-pounder takes more water to produce than 30 average American showers.
• It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton.
• A cross-country airplane trip (about 6,000 miles) uses more water than 1,700 standard toilet flushes.
• It takes approximately 1,000 gallons of water per day, per person to produce the average American diet.
• The water required to manufacture your laptop could wash nearly 70 loads of laundry in a standard washing machine.
• It takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar’s worth of paper. Recycling a pound of paper saves about 3.5 gallons of water.
• A typical vegan uses nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats an average American diet.
• A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that used to grow the coffee beans.
Calculate your water footprint.
To begin to determine your own water footprint, visit www.h2oconserve.org. H2O Conserve can help you calculate your household water consumption by asking questions like what state you live in, your household water habits and the types of faucets you have, as well as the types of appliances you have, such as dishwashers and washing machines. However, so far there isn’t an accurate tool to calculate your total water footprint. The factors involved are far too variable and require taking into account not only household water use, but the products you buy, the kind and number of clothes you wear, the food you consume, just to mention a few. Being aware of the multitude of ways you use water every day is the first step to reducing unnecessary water consumption. The second step is making a conscious effort to change your consumption habits to shrink your water footprint.