We always talk about carbon emissions and carbon footprints. If facts are to be believed, many countries across the world have taken affirmative actions to reduce individual carbon footprints. Along the same lines, the world has started taking note of water footprint.
What is a Water Footprint?
Let’s take a simple example of a cup of coffee. How much water do you think it takes to make a cup of coffee? Hint: it’s much much more than a single cup. As per estimates, one cup of coffee requires 132 litres (35 gallons) of water. This is according to calculations by the Water Footprint Network, a platform that aims to advance the sustainable use of fresh water. Water footprint is the total amount of water we use to produce each of the goods and services we consume.
Calculation of one’s water footprint takes into account the water consumed at all levels when we make and consume a product. So, in the case of a cup of coffee, we take the entire production chain into account. This includes the water that goes into growing the coffee tree, processing the beans, packaging them and transporting them to the supermarket. We call this collectively “hidden” or “virtual” water. This means that though we don’t see it being used, it plays a major role in the production of just about everything we consume. This includes energy, food, clothing, smartphones, cars and coffee.
When we normally talk about water consumption, we always take into consideration our “direct” consumption. This is mostly the water that comes out of our taps at home. Unfortunately, this only accounts for a very tiny share of our actual water footprint. Of a total estimated 1.386 billion cubic kilometers of water available on earth, only 3% is freshwater. This really makes freshwater a finite and highly in demand resource. With climate change and pollution playing an important role in depleting the freshwater availability, acute water scarcity is slowly becoming a harsh reality.
Water cannot be taken for granted. Of a total estimated 1.386 billion cubic kilometers of water available on earth, only 3% is freshwater. This really makes freshwater a finite and highly in demand resource. With climate change and pollution playing an important role in depleting the freshwater availability, acute water scarcity is slowly becoming a harsh reality.
The Importance of Water Footprint
With some 2 billion people lacking access to safe drinking water, according to the UN, and about 2.3 billion living in water-stressed countries, this is no doubt a crisis situation. Which is why water footprint and reducing our individual water footprints is gaining prominence as days pass by. The water footprints of different countries vary significantly, depending on industrial and agricultural activities and the population’s consumption patterns. In fact, the average water footprint per person of countries that consume more meat is higher than those countries where meat is not consumed at the same level. At the same time, agriculture is responsible for more than 70% of global water consumption. Products that come from crops or from animals that feed on crops, such as our food and clothing, need a lot of water.
Water Footprint Awareness
As per the Water Footprint Network, meat products and nuts are big water users. As per estimates, it takes more than 15,400 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef, and a kilo of nuts needs 9,063 litres. In the case of vegetables, it is much lower at 322 litres per kilogram. Few countries are even contemplating using water footprint labels, similar to nutritional labels on food items. This will boost public awareness about the quantity of water behind products.
We use water in the production of food, clothing, energy and technology. Hence, it is important to ensure that we reduce water wastage, especially freshwater wastage. Water filters from Doulton – a pioneer in water filtration systems, features the most eco-friendly products for bringing quality, tasty drinking water. Zero water wastage and Zero electricity usage ensures that Doulton Filters’ water footprints are as less as possible. Truly a warrior to protect our planet from fresh water scarcity.