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Your water footprint: How much water do you use?

By Gary Bogue
Friday, May 30th, 2008 at 7:05 am in Water, Water footprint.

By now you’ve heard about carbon footprints and probably tried to calculate your own. But did you know you have a water footprint, too?

The average person on earth has a “virtual water footprint” of about 328,410 gallons each year — and the U.S. has the largest on the planet, clocking in at a whopping 656,012 gallons per year.

Incredibly, one-third of the tap water used in North America is used to brew our daily cups of coffee.

In the latest installment of its “Better Planet” series, DISCOVER magazine reports in its June issue that there is substantial cause for concern about these measurements. As many as 5 million people die unnecessarily each year because of lack of water and related illnesses.

Every bite and sip you take makes a difference. /Gary

Everything you know about water conservation is wrong:

QUIZ: What’s your virtual water IQ?

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No Responses to “Your water footprint: How much water do you use?”

  1. Home gardener Says:

    Thank you for passing this on. We have to learn to think about our gobal environment in much more complex ways than is now commonly presented.

    For instance I cringe every time I hear the phrase “eat local” because it is supposedly environmentally friendlier than eating produce from further away because it supposedly uses less energy. During the winter in the SF Bay area, this makes a lot of sense. We have a relatively benign climate for growing produce during our rainy season. I know that I can grow my backyard produce here in the Eastbay for the most part without ever using a water hose.

    But during the dry season, every drop of water that I use to grow my vegetables comes out of a hose. And this is true for just about every gardener and farmer in California. Every drop of water comes out of a stream, reservoir or well. And every drop of water needs to be pumped. Water pumping is a very large part of our state’s energy usage.

    There are other parts of country where there is summer rainfall and where gardeners and farmers are far less dependent on “developed” water.

    It isn’t clear to me that eating foods from further away necessarily uses more energy or is more environmentally destructive than eating food from close by during the summer.

    Environmental awareness has to become more sophisticated than simple minded catch phrases. I’m always sceptical of slogans because they tend to be a matter of marketing and not deeper thought.

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