Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thinking About Water: How Much Is Enough?

In terms of water consumption, the United States without question is at the top of the charts of the usage per capita. On average, the typical American consumes 575 litres of water per day. In addition to the water used for drinking, bathing, and lawn maintenance, there's a hidden cost of water as well.

Data from Data360.org
For example, looking at the beef market in the US, we find that:
"The production of one kilogram of beef requires 15 thousand litres of water (93% green, 4% blue, 3% grey water footprint). There is a huge variation around this global average. The precise footprint of a piece of beef depends on factors such as the type of production system and the composition and origin of the feed of the cow."

Meanwhile, in countries along the bottom of the spectrum, their population struggles to get the basic water necessities to simply live on. The World Health Organization cites the minimum water needed per day to live on as 7.5 litres for simple survival. For basic hygiene and sanitation, that number should be closer to 20 litres (WHO Data Citation).

Curious where your water usage falls on the chart? Waterfootprint.org has a tool that you can use to calculate your water usage estimates from your computer here. Try the assessment and see whether you're above or below your country's average. 

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