Water, water everywhere?
28th August, 2008
You’ve heard of carbon footprints, right? You may even have calculated your own? But what about your water footprint? Have you ever considered how much ‘hidden’ water it takes to make your cup of coffee in the morning or indeed the tomato in your sandwich?
A report launched by WWF at this year’s World Water Week, held earlier this month in Stockholm, may just help give you some answers.
The report UK Water Footprint: the impact of the UK’s food and fibre consumption on global water resources tells the story of the water we use and where it comes from. Highlighting the impact of the UK’s consumption patterns on global water resources, the report found that the total water footprint of the UK is 102 Gm3 (billion cubic metres) per year. That works out as roughly 4, 645 litres per person per day.
While on average a single person in the UK wades their way through 150 litres of water a day by drinking, flushing and washing, around 30 times that amount is consumed by ‘virtual’ water – the water embedded in the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the numerous other items we consume. This is equivalent to someone having 50 baths or washing their clothes 75 times in a single day.
Virtual water refers to the volume of water required to produce a product. For example it takes 2,900 litres to ‘grow’ a cotton shirt.
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