Today’s Topic is: Virtual Water
POP Quiz: The world is running out of water because we
1) are thirsty
2) are hungry
3) take too many baths and showers
How much water do you use a day? Let’s count it out. They say you should drink about 8 glasses of water a day. A low-flow shower head uses 2 gallons per minutes, so about 20 gallons for a 10 minute shower. 3 gallons per flush. Another gallon for cooking. And and let’s say 50 gallons total for washing clothes and dishes. Depending on how many times you flush the toilet a day, that’s roughly 100 gallons day. But that’s not all. What about all of the water it takes to irrigate and grow corn? And the amount of corn it takes to raise dairy and beef cattle? In all, it takes about 2000 gallons of water to make just one pound of beef. A pound of cotton (enough for about three shirts) costs 1200 gallons. Just the steel for a car uses 32,000 gallons. That’s leaving out all of the glass, plastic, upholstery and paint. I don’t know the total. All in all, the average person living in America uses about 3000 gallons a day (about 1000 in Japan). A lot more than you though, huh?
So, in a round-about way, the answer is 2) the world is running out of water because we are hungry. Apart from the water we use at home, we use thousands of gallons to make the things we eat and use everyday. They call this “virtual water.” I don’t like this name because virtual water is actually “real water” for someone, somewhere. And who are these people? People living in the arid regions of Arizona? California? Try Egypt, China, Australia, some of the driest places on Earth.
Surprisingly, there is lots we can do to prevent water stresses around the world. Replace beef with chicken, or better yet, eat more vegetables. Buying locally produced products ensures you aren’t stealing someone else’s water halfway around the globe. Practice the 3-Rs. Lot’s of water goes into making new things. Reusing something eliminates that and helps keep water in the ground, where it belongs.
With a little bit of care, each one of us can save thousands of gallons everyday!!!
2 gallons for a bottle of water