When it comes to our water footprint, the majority of us think that it’s just made up of the water that we drink and use to wash with, when actually this far from the case – only making up roughly 5% of our overall consumption. It may sound surprising but the other 95% of our water footprint, is indirectly used for things like crops, clothing, beer and a whole variety of food:
- It takes 53 gallons (200 liters) of water to produce a single egg.
- To produce 1lb of cheese, requires 660 gallons (2,500 liters) of water.
- One 2/3lb steak needs 1,230 gallons (4,650 liters).
- To make a single cotton t-shirt, it requires 713 gallons (2,700 liters) of water and to produce 1kg of leather, it needs an enormous 4,385 gallons (16,600 liters) of water.
The shocking statistics reveal just how important it is for people to be aware of how much water is indirectly used for things we use and buy on a regular basis. It is vital that we consider ways of how we can reduce are water footprint, as if our habits don’t change, it is estimated that by 2025, a mammoth 2.8billion people in a total of 48 different countries will be faced with scarce water conditions.
Reducing your water consumption, doesn’t need to mean making drastic lifestyle changes. Here are just a few you could incorporate into your daily routine that could reduce the amount of water consumed on both a domestic and global scale as well as save you money:
Reducing your domestic water footprint:
Shower time – If you reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower by just 1 minute, it could slash off $25 per person off your energy bills each year. And with energy prices rocketing, what better time to start, to save you money?
Filling the kettle – We’re all guilty of filling the kettle up with more water than we need – so when it comes to making a cup of coffee, measure the water with a cup before putting it into a kettle. It doesn’t take long, and if everyone in the UK did this for the duration of the year, it could save enough money to generate all the streetlights for two months.
Using the dishwasher/washing machine – Restrict yourself to only using your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load as this could save you between 130 and 400 gallons of water. Moreover, to be even more environmentally friendly, reduce your energy consumption by washing your clothes on 85 degree heat instead of 105 degrees as this uses around 40% less electricity.
Brushing your teeth – A habit that a lot of us have, is leaving the tap on whilst we clean our teeth. This wastes up to 1.5 gallons of water per minute which is a staggering unnecessary 2,300 gallons of water a year.
Reducing your global water footprint
Meat – You might be a meat lover, but reducing the amount of meat you eat even slightly could reduce your water consumption drastically. To put it in perspective, if everyone in the US went vegetarian for just one daythere would be 1.5 billion pounds of crops to feed to farm animals which would be enough to feed the state of New Mexico for a whole year. This is just the US alone, so just imagine the impact if everyone if the world did this.
Bottled water – Don’t buy it. It’s unnecessary – it costs more, it’s not safer or more healthy for you, and causes harm to our environment.
Farmed products – Choose to eat responsibly farmed products as farmers who use effective water management and land drainage systems use water a lot more efficiently, reducing wastage.
Food – Don’t buy more food than you need. Millions of tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the US - each item you throw away is not only wasted food but also wasted water. Try not to get drawn in by the multi-buy deals and think about whether you will be able to realistically consume it before the use by date.
Following these simple steps and being aware of your water consumption, will not only save you money and your health, but will also have a significant positive impact on the environment